This is a sentence from a piece of technical writing I am reviewing, penned by a British author, and I can't help but want to change "that" to "as".

That word still means the same thing here in the U.K. that it does in the U.S., when used in the context of engineering.

A certain degree of interchangeability does exist between "as" and "that" (this is tangentially related but not conclusively to my question) but I am not 100% sure it works in this context. "A means the same thing here which it does (means) there" seems to work with "which/that" being the object of "to mean" in the relative clause. So (the sentence was written with "as") would "as" be a relative pronoun here? And can "that" replace "as" in this sentence? More generally when are "as" and "that" interchangeable in a "the same" construct?

  • 1
    Be brave. Slash and burn as needed and edit as little as you must, that your results be smooth as silk for the reader, not the author. As is no pronoun for you, but an adverb. May 11, 2023 at 17:41
  • IMO either "that it does in the U.S." or "as in the U.S." May 11, 2023 at 18:00
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    They're grammatically different structures. But the linked question/answer explains that, as well as citing Swann's Practical English Usage which says both are OK. I'm unsure what you want that's not already covered - something specific to this case that's not in "the same book"?
    – Stuart F
    May 11, 2023 at 18:22
  • This is really a fact about the constructions that same can be used in. The same X as Y is interchangeable with the same X that S, where S is some tensed complement. If Y is a clause, too, as can be used: the same mother as Sam = the same mother that Sam had. But if Y isn't a clause, you can't use that. May 12, 2023 at 1:10
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    Making that change would be purely your own style choice. In this case, 'as' and 'that' are interchangeable. If you're reviewing technical writing, what does your house style guide say? Sep 16, 2023 at 18:48


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