I asked the question What do all the different meanings of 'as' share in common?, which originally finished with the three following questions:

  1. How did "all so" or "so" (alswa) proliferate to all these different meanings?
  2. What semantic idea or concept underlies this polysemy/polyfunctionality?
  3. What do all these different meanings have in common?

I recieved the following comment from Chappo:

Antinatalist, I notice you've been asking your questions related to this book on Literature and Writing as well. There's no problem with asking questions, but please make sure they're useful, alswa asking too many questions in the one post risks it being closed as "too broad".

It was closed shortly thereafter with the "too broad" closure reason:

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Then I received the following comment from TaliesinMerlin:

Question 1 is an interesting question and one I could answer. Question 2 feels odd and I don't know how to answer. Question 3 is either trivial (they have a common history in common) or unanswerable. I voted to close because the range of those three questions is too broad to answer in a single question.

Afterwards, I decided to edit out the third question from the list in an attempt to fix the question. Is it narrow enough now?


1 Answer 1


I do not quite think so. It is difficult to fix that question in terms of it being too broad, even if you reduced it down to literally one question. The problem is with how specific the question is. The precise text of the closure reason was changed, but it used to read that we will not address questions which could cognizably have an entire book written about them, and the help center still makes reference to this in What Types of Questions Should I Avoid Asking:

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

The scope we usually aim for is generally closer to a few paragraphs per answer, or perhaps sometimes a page's worth of information. That keeps the answers in a comprehensible form that can be easily indexed by and referenced through a search engine. It also makes it so that it is easy enough to read the various answers and use the voting system as a means of peer review and sorting.

In its present state it would require us to cover more or less the entire history of the word, and anywhere from about a little over a dozen definitions in the American Heritage Dictionary 5th edition to a little under three dozen different definitions by the Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia's count. That is of course assuming that there is even a common theme between them all, and semantic drift does not always work out that way. Some elements of a word's primary meaning can be lost in contexts where it was chosen for secondary aspects, so the most literal signification may be entirely lost by the time you get to the most recent meaning.

I am not sure if this will suffice for the others, but editing the question's title to "What do the different senses of as generally share in common?" and point one to "How did 'all so' or 'so' (alswa) proliferate to these different meanings?" to match might help. Once that is done, then we could make more generalized statements, and if you notice any major discrepancies, you could ask followup questions to address those by making reference to this question and noting the more specific issue in the new ones more usefully.

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