“As” for because is heavily taxed – grossly overworked – by many writers, who are apparently enamoured of its brevity; often as is ambiguous, writes Eric Partridge in Usage and Abusage.
It is, however, difficult to lay down rules for the use of “because”, “for”, “since.” Employing them correctly is a matter of practice.
Ergo, in good writing, ‘because’, and ‘for’, are preferred to ‘as’, which is colloquial. ‘Since,’ too, contains the connotation of time.
All those words introduce clauses giving a reason for the action of state of affairs mentioned in the main clause. But the words are not equally appropriate. “As” and “since” are often preferred at the beginning of a sentence. They are preferred where the main statement is more important than the reason for it. On the other hand, “because” emphasises the cause rather than the statement.
The Times style guide has also advised copy writers to keep away from sloppy use of “as.”
They were moved out as the blast tore open the building. In the sentence ‘as’ may mean after the blast or “before the blast,” “at the time of the blast” or “because of the blast.”
Let’s ensure that the precise meaning of “as,” which also means “when,” is retained. “As” is neither a synonym for “after” nor a substitute for “before.”
“As,” defines Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, is the reduced form of “Alswa” “Also.” It may usually be employed as an adverb, as a relative pronoun, as a preposition and as a conjunction.
When it is used as likewise it is a conjunction. You seem to have suffered as much as I.
There is a tendency among some writers to treat “as” as a preposition. Is shee as tall as me? (W. Shakespeare). You are not as good as me. (Henry Fielding).
There is a question. What form should pronouns take after as – subject or object? Should we say “as I” or “as me?” It depends on the context. There is always a missing verb in such an employment of “as.”
According to The Right Word at the Right Time, the rule is to add the missing verb (and any other missing words) mentally to the sentence, and that will decide the case of the pronoun.
My father scolded me as severely as her. My father scolded me as severely as (he scolded) her. So, by adding mentally the missing verb “scolded,” we have understood the correctness of the sentence.
In the same way, she writes as well as me. Here, the sentence is ambiguous. If a pro-verb “do” is used in the sentence, a great justice will be done to the reader. She writes as well as I do.
After “such as” the nominative is often used, because the verb “to be” (am, is, are) is easily supplied.
One must avoid the vulgarism of using “as” for “who” or “which,” unless it is preceded by “such” or “same.”
This is not the book as I thought. Here, that would have been the ideal relative pronoun. The speaker should have said: This is not the same book as I thought.
Similarly, he is not such a fool that he looks. Instead of that the speaker should have used as.
“As” means in time, denoting simultaneousness: at or during the time when; in or during the act of; while; and when.
I was extremely pleased, as we rode along to observe the general benevolence … (Addison, Spectator).
“As” denotes concession: however, though. In such cases, it should be used with an adjective.
Tired as he was, he walked six miles.
“As” means closer equivalence, a nearer approach to identify than like.
“They lived as brothers” means somewhat more than “they lived like brothers.”
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