Notes From Babel

Grammar Gripe: “As Follows” vs. “As Follow”

with 10 comments

I was reading a legal brief once, and came across a sentence reading something to the effect of:

The reasons the motion should be granted are as follow:  . . . .

As I read the words, first in my head and then actually out loud, I could not get over how strange the words “as follow” sounded.  And yet, thinking through the structure of the sentence, it was grammatically correct: “follow” refers to the noun “reasons,” thus the subject and verb were in agreement. Try rearranging the sentence a bit:

  1. The reasons as follow below demonstrate why the motion should be granted:  . . . .
  2. The reasons as follows below demonstrate why the motion should be granted:  . . . .
  3. The reasons the motion should be granted are the ones as follow:  . . . .
  4. The reasons the motion should be granted are the ones as follows:  . . . .

It’s a bit easier to see why the first and third iteration above are correct, while the second and fourth demonstrate an obvious subject-verb disagreement.

Yet, the authorities appear to agree that, at least in the initial sentence, technical precision gives way to the aversion of linguistic grotesqueness.  Thus, it is never appropriate to use “as follow.”

On the other hand, this stuff is all just made up.  The only actual rule here is, if it sounds stupid, it’s not English.

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Written by Tim Kowal

July 18, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Posted in Language

10 Responses

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  1. Tim, have you ever read the essay “Tense Present” by David Foster Wallace? If not, read it ASAP — trust me!

    http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/DFW_present_tense.html

    Mason

    July 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm

  2. “The only actual rule here is, if it sounds stupid, it’s not English.” This was my first — and very much needed — laugh for the day.

    Thank you,
    – C –

    Cara Olsen

    May 31, 2012 at 11:17 am

    • If it sound stupid it’s not English. Like seriously. Can’t stop laughing too

      Anonymous

      March 17, 2016 at 7:52 am

  3. But stupid sounding words are eventually absorbed by the English language… so I guess everything depends on the persistence of the word.

    Ethel

    October 24, 2012 at 9:17 pm

  4. Where exactly did u acquire the tips to publish ““Grammar Gripe:
    As Follows vs. As Follow Notes From Babel”?
    Many thanks ,Connie

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    April 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm

  6. Which one is right, in parallel to or in parallel with? I know it depends on what it refers to but can I have some clear and straight differentiation between the two, please? Thank you in advance.

    Karl

    June 1, 2016 at 1:46 am

    • Main Street is parallel the river, and runs parallel with it. That’s what sounds best to my ear.

      Tim Kowal

      June 1, 2016 at 7:05 am


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