I wonder if we need as we are in this sentence.

In our present state, disheartened by failures and humbled by our weaknesses as we are, it is impossible to win this battle.

The presence of In our present state makes as we are redundant, but as I was writing the sentence, it just sounded natural to add as we are, as if I heard a kind of refrain in my mind. When I realised the problem, I tried removing it:

In our present state, disheartened by failures and humbled by our weaknesses, it is impossible to win this battle.

Is not the second sentence a bit dry? Shall I leave "as we are" in, or will it come across as disturbingly redundant?

Edit: There were some good answers but in the form of comments, so I cannot resolve the question by accepting them.

  • First, look at ell.stackexchange.com/questions/123870/… and then please say if you still need our help.
    – Anton
    Dec 12, 2020 at 10:04
  • @Anton: My question is a bit more particular. I am asking if we can have in our present state and as we are in the same sentence. Is this a wrong question to ask?
    – fev
    Dec 12, 2020 at 10:40
  • It's in a literary style, emphasising our sorry state. A redundancy? Of course (Only a real pedant would complain of the arguably misplaced modifier.) Incorrect? Only arguably so on style grounds. Poor style, then? I prefer the original, especially if it's period writing. It both lends to the historic feel, and avoids the slight jarringness of the twinning of the clinical 'In our present state it is impossible to win this battle' with non-clinical 'disheartened' and 'humbled'. But off-topic on ELU, as a request for style advice. Dec 12, 2020 at 10:56
  • @EdwinAshworth: Oh, is there a site for style advice then? I searched "style" but with no results. Thank you for your comment, I tend to feel the same way.
    – fev
    Dec 12, 2020 at 10:59
  • Writing.SE. 'Redundancy is always wrong' as a mantra is neither fine nor dandy, as a bit of digging and delving in the archives will uncover. //// Hm; that 'complain of' should have been 'complain about'. Or are misplaced modifiers an illness? Dec 12, 2020 at 11:13

2 Answers 2


There are literary precedents for this construction that reinforce my own experience of its acceptable use, as in your example.

"Conscious as I am, sir, of the disadvantage of making such a declaration to you, under such circumstances, I have come here, because ..."

"Enthusiastic as we are in the noble cause to which we have devoted ourselves, we should ..."

Pickwick Papers

"But the fact is, that being, as I am, to inherit this estate"

"Intimate as you are, you must know how it is to be done."

Pride and Prejudice

The phrase seems to emphasise the state of the person speaking: now; at this moment; in particular relation to the surrounding circumstances, be they past or future.

Writing as I am from a literary perspective, I suggest that despite a spurious redundancy the phrase is useful and acceptable.

  • The best example of literary redundancy is the first, and it might do the trick to convince me, together with EdwinA's comment :) . The others are not really examples of redundancy, but of the use of as one is. However, I am grateful for all of them, I love examples of this kind. I am a bit intrigued by the punctuation of the third sentence you gave. Are you sure that the commas are in their right place?
    – fev
    Dec 12, 2020 at 11:50
  • It was a searching question. I too see a lot of commas but am not the person to dispute Miss Austen's style. My search was limited to a quick check on precedent for my own experience and could never be exhaustive.
    – Anton
    Dec 12, 2020 at 12:02
  • Pretty amazing, I must say. I wonder what she was trying to convey through the positions of the commas... I am not questioning her style, just making sure that this is how she wanted it.
    – fev
    Dec 12, 2020 at 12:11
  • 1
    @Anton, Aren't all of your examples (which I enjoyed) distinguishable from the one given by the OP in that, in your examples, you can't remove "as I am" without destroying the sentence? That is, "as I am" is necessary to make the sentence understandable.
    – Jim Simson
    Dec 12, 2020 at 14:39
  • @JimSimson agree to some extent. I felt that they all could be stated more simply with a plain meaning that nevertheless lacked the overtones of the removed construction.
    – Anton
    Dec 12, 2020 at 14:44


My own two cents here: I would absolutely ditch the, "as we are". I don't read your second sentence as dry at all, I see it as a concise, pithy statement. In your first sentence, "as we are" is not only redundant but as a first-time reader of the sentence, it's jarring and threw me off. I'll be interested to see if others feel differently.

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