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As we usually think of dreams, they go on in the minds of people who are actually lying in a real bed in a real house, even if in the dream they are running away from a homicidal lawnmower through the streets of Kansas City. We also assume that normal dreams depend on what is happening in the dreamer's brain while he sleeps."

I don't know the meaning of the word "As" in the first sentence. Could you help me please! I think it means "when". Is it right?

  • It means roughly "in the manner in which". – BillJ Jan 9 '18 at 10:26
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It means "We usually think of dreams as going on ..." or alternatively "We usually think of dreams as if they were going on ..."

I have never heard the phrasing that you are asking about in colloquial American English.

  • We use "as" that way a lot here (US), don't we?: "As is our custom, each speaker will have 2 minutes ..." "As Aesop says, look before you leap.", etc. – Lorel C. May 23 at 23:36
  • My point is that a hypothetical is involved here, namely how dreams work. And we introduce hypotheticals with an implied or explicit "if" or "as if." Your examples are fine, and I do not dispute them, but they have nothing to do with hypotheticals. – Jeff Morrow May 28 at 1:58
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It indicates progress of one action based on the progress of another action. That sentence is still complicated to me because it seems to be very poetic.

  • That is not the meaning of "as" used here. – David Siegel May 23 at 23:34
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In the example sentenece:

As we usually think of dreams ...

means "The way in which we usually think of dreams is..."

This sentence sounds more in an academic than a colloquial register to me.

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