This is a large-scale corpus study of relative constructions containing same in the antecedent. These differ from other relative constructions in that they permit the use of as as a relativizer and thus offer different possibilities of variation than other relative constructions, something that has not been well described in handbooks. We found that same-constructions occur much more frequently with relativizers having adverbial function, and that they also show a different semantic patterning than other adverbial relative constructions.
The most common relativizer in speech is as with over 50%; in writing, as and that each account for about a third. A variable rule analysis showed that the factors independently favouring the choice of as were the function of same as antecedent head, the functions of as as adverbial or subject complement, and occurrence in speech. There are also some differences between speech and writing when as is the relative marker in adverbial function, in that the ranking is manner-temporal-locative in speech and temporal-manner-locative in writing.
We discuss our findings in the light of the pragmatics of same-constructions and consider the history of as as a relative marker in English.