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In

As their wares moved eastwards along their trade routes, so did their culture.

Is the main clause:

  1. so did their culture
  2. as their wares moved eastwards along their trade routes
  3. their wares moved eastwards along their trade routes

If it is (1), how can that be parsed syntactically? It's missing the lexical verb.

How do "as ... so ..." constructions function syntactically?

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2 Answers 2

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Is the main clause: 1. so did their culture 2. as their wares moved eastwards along their trade routes 3. their wares moved eastwards along their trade routes

#1 is correct. The first clause (before the comma) is introduced by the subordinating conjunction "as", so it must be a subordinate clause. The second clause (after the comma) begins with "so", which functions adverbially here, so it works as an independent clause. (The appropriate meanings of "as" and "so" are very easy to find in a dictionary, so I won't include them here.)


If it is (1), how can that be parsed syntactically? It's missing the lexical verb.

Lexical verbs are often omitted when repeated or otherwise understood; that is no problem. It should be obvious that the second clause omits "to move".


How do "as ... so ..." constructions function syntactically?

Answered above.

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  • Which verb is so modifying?
    – minseong
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 13:17
  • @theonlygusti Whyever would one of a pair of clause connectors have to "modify" a "verb"? As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 14:02
  • @tchrist what does it mean to say that a clause connector is functioning adverbially?
    – minseong
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 14:03
  • @theonlygusti It means that it operates on the the entire clause as a single syntactic constituent. If you have something to say, then you should say it. This is about syntax not about single words.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 14:14
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    @theonlygusti In the traditional analysis for such correlative pairs as these, yes. But we're now getting into "fuzzy" word classes, some little more than junk yards into which have been randomly tossed all sorts of disparate items which do not all pattern the same as one another. The elusive borderline between adverbs and conjunctive adverbs and conjunctions and subordinators and prepositions can be remarkably tough to pin down these days, when each syntactician seems bent on inventing his own personal set of word classes by drawing his own would-be delineations.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 15:14
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So (FARLEX)

In the same way; likewise: You were on time, and so was I.

For that reason; therefore:

With the result or consequence that:

As their wares moved eastwards along their trade routes, so did their culture.

Reconstructed

As their wares moved eastwards along their trade routes, with the consequence that their culture also moved along their trade routes.

Which do you think is the main clause?

Edit: Another reconstruction

As their wares moved eastwards along their trade routes, likewise their culture also moved along their trade routes.

Which do you think is the main clause?

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  • I don't think this is a correct reconstruction. Why wouldn't this kind of reconstruction, based on replacing "as", also be valid? At the same time that their wares moved eastwards along their trade routes, their culture moved along these trade routes — seems to imply the opposite conclusion
    – minseong
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 11:20

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