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I had the following sentence in mind: "The conflict escalated quite rapidly, as I imagined/predicted would be the case". To my ears, the sentence sounds good, and a moderate amount of people have already used the phrases "as I imagined would be the case" and "as I predicted would be the case" before. However, I'm still concerned and not fully convinced about its grammaticality. Here are a few possible alternatives that should be "more grammatical" in my opinion:

  • As I imagined/predicted the case to be [...]
  • As I imagined/predicted that the case would be [...]
  • As I imagined/predicted what the case would be like [...]
  • As what I imagined/predicted the case would be like [...]
  • As what I imagined/predicted that the case would be like [...]
  • As what I imagined/predicted the case to be like [...]

Unfortunately, none of these alternatives returns significant hits in Google search, as I imagined would be the case (pun totally intended).

Is the phrase "as I imagined would be the case" grammatically correct and why?


Answering to comments:

Yes. That said, it's hard to explain why without having an argument to counter. Why do you think it's not grammatical?

You imagine or predict something. So, according to this logic, the phrase should be answering the question I imagined/predicted what? I imagined/predicted what the case would be like. So now that I think of it, the most grammatical version of the phrase IMO should be "as I imagined/predicted what the case would be like, [...]", although it sounds quite convoluted to be honest. The phrase "as I imagined would be the case" omits what, like and inverts the relative order between the case and would be. Are all those changes grammatical?


What about the adverb as?

As describes an event by comparing it to something else. So a phrase that begins with as should be answering the question: as what? As what I imagined/predicted that the case would be like. That's the version that makes the most grammatical sense to me. But, of course, nobody uses it :-)

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  • Yes. That said, it's hard to explain why without having an argument to counter. Why do you think it's not grammatical? Apr 30, 2021 at 14:54
  • 4
    It's certainly a fixed phrase, and therefore kosher, but its internal structure is another matter. There should be a dummy it around if Extraposition has applied, but it's not there. And as is a very problematic particle. Apr 30, 2021 at 14:56
  • 'The conflict escalated quite rapidly, as I imagined/predicted would be the case' perhaps illustrates the incongruity better. But it can be considered as a deleted version of 'The conflict escalated quite rapidly; this state of affairs was as I imagined/predicted would be the case'. Apr 30, 2021 at 14:59
  • There are a surprising number of cases where word order is inverted in English, although I can't see this particular one discussed anywhere
    – Stuart F
    Apr 30, 2021 at 15:19
  • @TaliesinMerlin - arguments against the grammaticality of the phrase added in. Apr 30, 2021 at 15:44

1 Answer 1

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Yes, it is correct. No, it would not be preferable or “more grammatical” to use “what” or “the case” as well as as in this context.

Here is a previous question with information about how the grammar of this type of clause can be analyzed: Where is the subject in "as was traditional for unmarried women"?

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