General Writing and Grammar Help/use of "as follows"

Advertisement


Question
Dear Ted,

Can you please tell me if the word “as” in the expression “as follows” is an adverb or not.

I was also wondering if “as follows” is considered informal or formal?

Thank you

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich:

Can you please tell me if the word “as” in the expression “as follows” is an adverb or not.

I was also wondering if “as follows” is considered informal or formal?

*** Sometimes the expression is "even AS something FOLLOWS something else."  

"Even as night follows the day."  

There are grammarians who consider phrases like "as follows" to be preludes to what is really import.  They are, quite often, used as introductions to lists of things or people.
They claim there is no grammatical function.

Other experts insist that there MUST be a function.  The problem is that the phrase is an IDIOM.  You asked if it were formal or informal, and the answer is that it is VERY INFORMAL.  You should not use the phrase in formal writing at all.

I call "as follows" an abbreviated form of the ADVERBIAL CLAUSE, "as IT follows."  It is adverbial because it almost always answers the question WHY?   The clause is subordinate, and, it begins with the subordinating conjunction "as."  

So . . . you have an elliptical, adverbial, idiomatic expression.  I think you will really enjoy these forum I found online.

According to Burchfield, that's because the phrase is essentially an impersonal construction meaning something like "as it follows."
Authority: The New Fowler's Modern English Usage edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996. Used with the permission of Oxford University Press.

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=436695

http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2013/02/as-follows.html

*** I miss the "old days," when Allexperts had a forum like these. Questions were frequently sent to a "question pool," instead of one particular person.  Anyone who wanted to could join in, offering his or her opinion.  A guy named "Rich the Curmudgeon" and I love to "analyze" each other's answers.  People actually commented on how great the discussions and arguments were.  They learned more by reading more than just one person's viewpoint.

Gone are the days.

Ted  

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

Experience

I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.