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Such as it was

Posted by Smokey Stover on October 02, 2008 at 03:15

In Reply to: Such as it was posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 01, 2008 at 18:23:

: : : What does it mean if someone says..."such as it was", in a sentence like "We got it and read it, such as it was."?

: : Your sentence is a perfect example of the way the phrase is used. Here it means "In the condition that it was," or "Just exactly as it was," or possibly "to the degree that it was [something]" with a disparagement intended. "He let me have his old sweater, such as it was," means that it wasn't much of a sweater. "He translated his talk into German, such as it was, for the occasion"--that is, not very good German.

: : The Oxford English Dictionary defines this use of the phrase as "having the character that he (it) has, no more and no less; used chiefly with a depreciatory or contemptuous reference, or apologetically", and traces this usage back to around 1240.
: : SS

: It also has an exact equivalent in French. In French you might say "Les citoyens respectent la loi, telle qu'elle soit" (The citizens respect the law, such as it is).

Since the French version uses the subjunctive mood of the verb, I think it should be translated ss "such as it may be." Does this differe from "whatever it may be"? I really don't know, but if that's a possible translation, then the French version is not really an exact equivalent--unless, of course, the French people take it to be so.