E-mail message circulated at a big New York law firm recently:
Good morning –
Tonight we are hosting a semi-annual morale event for the paralegals. The event will take place from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and is a great way for the firm to show its appreciation to the paralegals for all of their hard work.
As such, please do your best to relieve your paralegals from their overtime projects this evening. . . .
1. A nice party for the staff, it seems, is now a morale event. Could HR possibly get more impersonal?
2. The writer seems to think that as such means something to the effect of, “that being the case”.
Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary defines such as an adjective meaning,
1 a : of a kind or character to be indicated or suggested <a bag such as a doctor carries>
b : having a quality to a degree to be indicated <his excitement was such that he shouted>
2 : of the character, quality, or extent previously indicated or implied <in the past few years many such women have shifted to full-time jobs>
3 : of so extreme a degree or quality <never heard such a hubbub>
4 : of the same class, type, or sort <other such clinics throughout the state>
5 : not specified [e.g., I gather, <got it from such and such a person>];
and as a pronoun meaning,
1 : such a person or thing
2 : someone or something stated, implied, or exemplified <such was the result>
3 : someone or something similar : similar persons or things <tin and glass and such>.
In connection with which it gives this helpful illustration:
— as such
: intrinsically considered : in itself <as such the gift was worth little>
3. Doesn’t it seem a bit presumptuous to put a request and thanks in the same memo? The writer doesn’t even say, “Thank you in advance,” as a way of expressing confidence that the recipient will cheerfully comply with the request. The fact, though, is that Americans have reduced “Thank you” in this context to a meaningless cordiality like “Yours truly”. The writer isn’t thanking anybody at all: she or he’s merely signing off in a manner that vaguely indicates good will towards the reader.