1. problems with as…as…
In this common construction, the first as is an adverb, and the second is either a preposition or a conjunction.
a) When no verb follows, e.g. as good as we / as good as us, there is no problem with nouns after as because nouns do not inflect, but some pronouns do. The two patterns are as…as I/we/he/she/they and as…as me/us/him/her/them. (It and you are of course invariable.) In normal conversational English the second pattern is more usual, and the first is only used in more formal contexts or in an effort to avoid censure from purists. It should be added that both patterns are grammatically sound, since as can function as a preposition (as it does in as good as us) and as a conjunction (as it does in as good as we / as good as we are). In these cases, the first as is classified as an adverb (as good as…).
b) Note that choice of case can determine meaning when there might be ambiguity, as in I don't like George as much as them [= I don't like George as much as I like them] / I don't like George as much as they [= I don't like George as much as they like him]. This facility is not available with nouns (e.g. I don't like George as much as Henry), and ambiguity must then be clarified either by intonation (in speech) or by rephrasing (in writing, e.g. I don't like George as much as I like Henry, or better, I prefer Henry to George).
c) Note also that in negative constructions the first (adverbial) as can be replaced by so: not so good as us. With so, it is unusual to use the I/we/he/she/they option.
2. as = ‘in the capacity of’.
In this use, as is a preposition, and it is used to show the role or function of a person or thing: I hear you are employed as a teacher / It is as a cellist that she is best known. Care must be taken to avoid false links with the as clause, as in the following examples, which at best show poor style and at worst are downright ambiguous:

• As a medical student his call-up was deferred —Penelope Fitzgerald, 1986

• As a 32-year-old law enforcement professional, you know that I do not like being forced to release prisoners from jail —Chicago Tribune, 1988

[Who then is the professional?].
3. omission of as.
The preposition as is usually omitted after certain verbs which designate or classify people or things in certain ways, including appoint, certify, choose, consider, count, deem, elect, nominate, proclaim, pronounce, rate, reckon. With other verbs, the as must be included; these are: accept, acknowledge, characterize, class, define, describe, intend, regard, see, take, treat, use. Note that consider and regard, although having much the same meaning, differ in the matter of as: We regard you as a model pupil / We consider you a model pupil.
The adverb as is sometimes casually omitted in spoken English in comparisons: She used to come regular as clockwork / It was soft as butter / They were good as gold. This is not good practice in more formal or written English.
4. as = ‘because’.
Fowler (1926) rejected the use of as = ‘because’ when it followed the main clause, as in I gave it up, as he only laughed at my arguments; but he permitted it when the as clause came first, as in As he only laughed at my arguments, I gave it up. This objection now sounds as dated as the examples chosen, and the position of the clause is determined not by spurious principles of syntax but by the degree of emphasis needed for each part of the sentence.
5. as = ‘though’.
As is used in the same way as though in concessive constructions such as much as I like them and good as they may seem, in which a contrary statemen follows: good as they may seem I have known much better ones. In AmE, and increasingly in BrE, an initial as is also used in the manner of a comparison:

• As grim as the going occasionally was in this lurid mixture of great, almost-great and decidedly ungreat music, one would have to have a heart of stone not to be just a little seduced by Gergiev's stage presence —Independent on Sunday, 2007.

6. as, relative pronoun.
Its use as a relative pronoun is now largely confined to the constructions same as or such as: We can expect the same number to turn up as came last year / Such repairs as have been made to the house are most acceptable. These constructions are less common in everyday spoken English. Other constructions with as as a relative pronoun occur only in non-standard or regional English, both in BrE and AmE:

• It's only baronets as cares about farthings —Thackeray, 1847/8

• This is him as had a nasty cut over the eye —Dickens, 1865

• I don't know as I expected to take part in this debate —Harper's Magazine, 1888

• There's plenty as would like this nice little flat, Mr. E —Anthony Burgess, 1963.

7. as and when.
This now common phrase meaning ‘whensoever’ is surprisingly recent, not being recorded in the OED before 1945. It is also used elliptically in informal (especially spoken) language to mean ‘when possible, in due course’. Examples:

• He would…snatch pub meals as and when he could —P. McCutchan, 1975

• All bream…will devour a small fish as and when the opportunity arises and they have the inclination to do so —G. Marsden, 1987

• (elliptical) They confirmed the existing main roads as future traffic arteries to be widened ‘as and when’ —Listener, 1965

• She can redo them and we just microwave them as and when —spoken material in British National Corpus, 1992.

8. as from, as of.
The formula as from is used in contracts and agreements to indicate the date from which certain items or clauses are to take effect. This use is reasonable when the date is retrospective: The rate of payment is increased as from the 1st September last. For present and future dates the as is superfluous: Your redundancy takes effect from today [not as from today].
Phrases of the type as of now, as of today, etc., first recorded in the work of Mark Twain in 1900, are now well established in standard English in the UK and elsewhere. Examples:

• I'm resigning from the committee as of now —D. Karp, 1957

• As of today, I do not believe Tebbit has enough votes to win —J. Critchley, 1990.

9. as if, as though.
a) These two conjunctions are virtually interchangeable, except that as if is somewhat more natural in exclamations (As if I would!).
b) When the conjunction introduces a possibility or likelihood (often after a verb like appear, look, seem, or sound) the normal tense is used:

He speaks as though even the rules which we freely invent are somehow suggested to us in virtue of their being right —M. Warnock, 1965


When the left wing of the Labour Party looks as if it is going to lose, it is described as bananasTimes, 1980


It is as if he has given up on America and in so doing he has given up on grappling with the complexity of his position and allegiancesTimes Literary Supplement, 1986

c) When the conjunction introduces a comparison based on a hypothetical or impossible proposition, either the past tense or the subjunctive is used, which coincide in form except that the third person singular subjunctive of to be is were, not was. It is impossible to draw a meaningful distinction in current usage between these two alternatives, which only exist in this case, except that the subjunctive were theoretically denotes a stronger element of hypothesis or supposition than does the past tense was:

Most of them had been out of touch with him for many years, but he spoke to them as if it was only yesterday —David Lodge, 1980


As if India were not already finding batting hard enough, the crowd started…performing what is apparently called the ‘human wave’Times, 1986


His body felt as though he were trembling, but he was not —B. Moore, 1987


He devoured all, exhausted, as though his life was in danger —A. S. Byatt, 1987

. An elliptical construction, with the verb to be omitted, is also possible:

The tanpura player…strummed the strings as if in a mesmerised state —Anita Desai, 1980

10. as per.
This preposition, meaning ‘in accordance with’, is more or less restricted to business correspondence and to such publications as DIY manuals (e.g. as per specification). In general use it occurs most frequently in the colloquialism as per usual and humorous variants of it:

• So I took her up a cup of tea…as per usual on her headache days —Katherine Mansfield, 1923

• I'll stay in a pub…As per usual —J. Bingham, 1970

• Same old jolly camp-fire life went on as per usual —Julian Barnes, 1989

• She knew better, didn't she. As per always —P. Bailey, 1986.

11. as such.
As such, meaning ‘in this capacity’ or ‘accordingly’, is an established and valid expression, but it tends to be over-used in contexts where it adds little meaning: (useful)

• Euro-MPs are not against the Euro-quango as such —English Today, 1985

• (redundant) Today, computers do little computing as such outside of specific areas. They are more concerned with manipulative tasks such as word processing —New Scientist, 1987.

In many cases, an expression such as in principle would serve better: instead of There is no objection to the sale of houses as such, write There is no objection in principle to the sale of houses.
12. as to, as for.
These are called complex prepositions, and they have a useful role to play when a simple preposition like of or about is not available or has another meaning. (1) As to means ‘concerning’ or ‘with regard to’: It is correct as to colour and shape / The rates of postage vary both as to distance and weight.
When a simple preposition is available, as it often is after a noun, it is better to use it: ☒ ‘Vladimir telephoned the Circus at lunch-time today, sir,’ Mostyn began, leaving some unclarity as to [use about or regarding]

• which ‘sir’ he was addressing —John Le Carré, 1980

The setting and languages leave no doubt as to [use about or concerning] its Africanness —English World-wide, 1980

• Western newspapers have been full of speculation as to whether China was playing a ‘Soviet card’ against the United States —Christian Science Monitor, 1982.

13. For as long as see long. For such as, see such.

Modern English usage. 2014.


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