Looking up "as" in an English dictionary, I once came across this example: "such a bright light as makes your eyes ake". Is the simple present correct here? I would actually expect the infinitive (...."as to make your eyes ake"). In case it is correct, could anyone show me some more examples (either from everyday's life or any book writer)?. Thank you very much in advance


The spelling ake rather than the modern ache is a clue:

The old fellow shall live till he makes his heart ake, I can tell him that for his pains. —The Spectator, 1803.

As + 3rd per sg transitive verb, once a common construction, is not nearly as frequently used today. It is grammatical, but dying out.

Add to this, that the near Neighbourhood of those Mountains causes such Reflexion in the Day Time, as makes the Heat excessive … 1734.

Is not this such Love as makes your Blood run cold? as causes the Ears of him that heareth to tingle? — John Wesley, 1755.

The art of handing Baby round to kiss, during dessert, in a manner so enticing as will make your richest old friend present anxious to stand godfather. — Punch Magazine, 1872.

There are a few exceptions where one may still find this construction, both with verbs with the no longer productive prefix be-: become and, as @ChuckkHubbard pointed out, befit:

In the earlier works Berkeley's expository principles are put forward in a dialectical and necessarily blunt fashion as becomes a reformer. 2012.

This is a very large book, as befits a long life and a career that included high achievement and deep failure. 1996.

Use with a linking verb has never gone out of fashion:

Let us begin — as is fitting — with what is familiar. 1997.

If this is not so, again, punish those responsible as seems appropriate. 2014.

The verb appear is more limited in this construction, but still current in official or legal contexts and in making a citation:

…the court shall make such order as to the postponement of the trial as appears necessary.

A revised Memphis Conference Budget Summary 2012 Askings (as appears on page 18 of the 2011 pre-conference booklet) has been prepared by Conference Treasurer James Finger…

  • One phrase where this can still be heard occasionally is with "befits": She was buried in the cathedral, as befits someone of her position." From dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/befit Apr 14 '18 at 10:36
  • @ChuckkHubbard: thanks for pointing that out. I added befits, which made me think of becomes and to make a note of linking verbs.
    – KarlG
    Apr 14 '18 at 13:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.