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"Many packaged foods, particularly the more perishable ones, come with an expiration date. The expiration date represents the food scientist’s best guess on how long a food will last before it spoils. A food scientist calculates the expiration date by first determining the product’s shelf life (how long it will last under typical storage). The expiration date is usually set before the end of shelf life, but it is not as simple as being acceptable to eat the day before the expiration date and unacceptable the day after the date."

About the underlined part above,

1. Does 'it' means 'The expiration date'?

2. Is the 'as' is functioning as a preposition such as 'like'?

3. If I parse the simple sentence - "it is acceptable to eat the day before . . . after the date" has been reduced into the simple phrase - "(it) being acceptable to eat the day before . . . after the date", is this parse justified and then how the "it is" could be done into "(it) being" as a participle phrase?

I would appreciate on your explanation.

* source; https://books.google.co.kr/boo...poils%22&f=false

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Hi, Deepcosmos,

@deepcosmos posted:

"[...] The expiration date is usually set before the end of shelf life, but it is not as simple as being acceptable to eat the day before the expiration date and unacceptable the day after the date."

About the underlined part above,

1. Does 'it' means 'The expiration date'?

2. Is the 'as' is functioning as a preposition such as 'like'?

3. If I parse the simple sentence - "it is acceptable to eat the day before . . . after the date" has been reduced into the simple phrase - "(it) being acceptable to eat the day before . . . after the date", is this parse justified and then how the "it is" could be done into "(it) being" as a participle phrase?

1. I find the referent of "it" to be rather vague. I find "it is not as simple" to be close to "things are not as simple."

2. In a comparative of equality, you need the second "as" and cannot replace it with "like."

3. In line with (1), I don't like the "being acceptable/unacceptable to eat" part. What is the subject of "being (un)acceptable to eat"? It should be "food," or "product," but the sentence is not well drafted for that meaning to be readily conveyed.

I think a possible revision for the better would consist of replacing "being" with "declaring the food/product":

"[...] The expiration date is usually set before the end of shelf life, but it is not as simple as declaring the food/product acceptable to eat the day before the expiration date and unacceptable the day after the date."

A more radical revision could be:

"[...] The expiration date is usually set before the end of shelf life, but this does not mean/imply that the food/product is acceptable to eat the day before the expiration date and unacceptable the day after the date."

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator


2. In a comparative of equality, you need the second "as" and cannot replace it with "like."

3. I think a possible revision for the better would consist of replacing "being" with "declaring the food/product":

"[...] The expiration date is usually set before the end of shelf life, but it is not as simple as declaring the food/product acceptable to eat the day before the expiration date and unacceptable the day after the date."



Thanks a million, my tutor. If I follow your amazing explanation, could I regard the full version of your revised sentence in 3 above to be - "it is not as simple as declaring the food/product acceptable to eat the day before the expiration date and unacceptable the day after the date (is simple)."?

To add just a little to Gustavo’s great explanation, I’d like to say that, sloppy though the part of the sentence in question is, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it in live native conversation, in which “it” would naturally be understood to denote “the meaning of an expiration date”: “The expiration date is usually set before the end of shelf life, but the meaning of an expiration date is not so simple as being acceptable to eat before the expiration date and unacceptable the day after.”

“The expiration date is usually set before the end of shelf life, but the meaning of an expiration date is not so simple as being acceptable to eat before the expiration date and unacceptable the day after.”

Hi, David, you also did provide an unexpected explanation as a big gift on weekend. My last question is;

1. For the your revised sentence above, am I justified to consider the 'as' a conjunction, the 'being' a gerund, and the full version is " ... as being acceptable to eat before the expiration date and unacceptable the day after (is simple)."?

2. If the author intentionally wrote "being acceptable to eat", since the verb "to accept" really needs a noun or pronoun as its object and thereby "accepting to eat" is grammatically incorrect?

Sorry to burden you on weekend and no problem to wait till tomorrow.

Last edited by deepcosmos
@deepcosmos posted:

1. For the your revised sentence above, am I justified to consider the 'as' a conjunction, the 'being' a gerund, and the full version is " ... as being acceptable to eat before the expiration date and unacceptable the day after (is simple)."?



Yes, "as" can be parsed as a conjunction or complementizer there, one which introduces a clause with an omitted predicate ("is simple"); but please note that it would be unacceptable actually to use "is simple." Still, if thinking about that obligatorily deleted predicate helps you to understand things, that's fine.

@deepcosmos posted:

2. If the author intentionally wrote "being acceptable to eat", since the verb "to accept" really needs a noun or pronoun as its object and thereby "accepting to eat" is grammatically incorrect?

The problem with your analysis there is that "acceptable" is not a verb; it's an adjective. The infinitive "to eat" complements that adjective. The only verbs in "being acceptable to eat" are "being" and "eat."

Last edited by David, Moderator

Yes, "as" can be parsed as a conjunction or complementizer there, one which introduces a clause with an omitted predicate ("is simple"); but please note that it would be unacceptable actually to use "is simple." Still, if thinking about that obligatorily deleted predicate helps you to understand things, that's fine.

The problem with your analysis there is that "acceptable" is not a verb; it's an adjective. The infinitive "to eat" complements that adjective. The only verbs in "being acceptable to eat" are "being" and "eat."

Hi, David, deeply thanks for your explanation.

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