In the following sentence, is the such as occurred in Katrina part grammatically correct?

Eyewall replacement cycles, such as occurred in Katrina as it approached the Gulf Coast of the United States, can greatly increase the size of tropical cyclones.


An alternative,

Eyewall replacement cycles, such as those that occurred in Katrina as it approached the Gulf Coast of the United States, can greatly increase the size of tropical cyclones.

seems to be clumsy.

  • Using "those that" is correct. You might instead say, "...replacement cycles, as they occurred in Katrina..." – Jim Sep 26 '12 at 4:29
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    I have no problem with either. Essentially, "those that" is implicit in the first. – David Schwartz Sep 26 '12 at 5:15
  • That is gradually being dropped -- dropping those that without causing ambiguity or incompleteness is catching on. The sentence is fine per current usage. Could risk being considered incorrect by some old timers, though. – Kris Sep 26 '12 at 6:54
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    @Kris I'm about as old-time and crotchety as they come and I have no problem with it. But I'd prefer "like those which occurred . . ." to either. – StoneyB Sep 26 '12 at 17:26
  • @StoneyB We may have second thoughts after TimLymington raised a new point (see below). – Kris Sep 27 '12 at 6:34

I would consider such use to be colloquial at best and I'm unsurprised to see that the OP is quoting from a Wikipedia page. However, thanks to Ngrams, I've just had the proverbial rugs (I try to double-rug myself when on ELU) pulled from under my feet:

such as occurred in

The blue worm represents "such as occurred" which has apparently seen consistent use right from ~1800. The red, signifying "such as those that occurred", is practically flat-lined until the 1960s. Other alternatives including "such as the one that occurred", "such as the ones that occurred", etc. barely register in the plot. "Like those that occurred" and its variants fare better, albeit on a similar scale.

A few relevant excerpts from (Google) books which employ the phrase such as occurred in:

2012: The Oxford Handbook of Latin American Political Economy

A third path is when political elites split, and agree to democratize in order to avoid violence (Bardhan 1993), such as occurred in Colombia. A final path is that democratic institutions develop and thrive when public goods become more highly ...

1941: Grain prices and the futures market: a 15-year survey, 1923-1938

The records disclose instead either concurrent price and large-scale position changes, such as occurred in March and April 1925, or an absence of any definite relationship. Added insight into the character of large-scale trading can be ...

1885: Medical and Surgical Reporter

The cases I am about to report, are such as occurred in my practice during the past four years. From 1875 to 1881, we had eight different times, attempted the removal of pieces of gun cap, iron or steel, from the vitreous by aid of forceps.

1855: The American journal of the medical sciences: Volume 29

Some pigment was also found external to the vessels, and perhaps was the residuum of punctiform hemorrhages, but no fresh punctiform hemorrhages, such as occurred in the brain, were ever seen in the kidneys. The pigment was found, ...

1819: Voyage to South America

In being released from the shackles of their old system, and without any settled re-organization of government, it was natural to be expected, that during the sway of the passions, scenes such as occurred in France, would take place.

Google Books returns 863,000 results for "such as occurred" versus 24,300 for "such as those that occurred".

These surprises should mean that I ought to stand corrected. I am, however, unable to bring myself to do it. So, somebody please find something wrong with this entire exercise. I, for one, will be extremely receptive.

  • BTW, the comparative graphs for those which occurred are interesting. – tchrist Sep 26 '12 at 20:35
  • @tchrist I wonder if all these variants add up to something significant ... – coleopterist Sep 26 '12 at 21:58

I don't think your alternatives are precisely equivalent. Such as occurred..., just like cycles as occurred in Katrina..., seems to me to be describing a subset of eyewall cycles, and as such should strictly dispense with the parenthetical commas. Such as those that occurred..., or (better) like those that occurred... is a simple, parenthetical example.

Of course, even if I'm right, the distinction is too fine to matter in 99% of cases; but is that a reason to blur it entirely? Not on this site, at least.

  • Must say, one of those that never occurred to me until I read this. Well, can't help but agree. Where that subtle distinction does exist, it must be projected correctly. – Kris Sep 27 '12 at 6:32

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