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Chosen not as much for his charm, or lack thereof, as for his minatory appearance, the singer's bodyguard proved to be an effective deterrent for many autograph-seekers.

What is the role of 'as' in this sentence? For me, it seems also cool not to use 'as', like

Chosen not for his charm, or lack thereof, but for his minatory appearance,

  • You're right, the meaning is roughly the same. But the sentence itself is a bit incoherent—"Chosen not for... the lack of charm, but for his minatory appearance..." is a rather strange antithesis since both notions are in a sense overlapping. – Michael Login Aug 12 '18 at 6:23
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What is the role of 'as' in this sentence?

It is a correlative conjunction.

References:
yourdictionary.com
wikipedia

These include as/as, as much/as, not/but, and others.

Chosen (not) as much for his charm as for his minatory appearance.

Chosen not for his charm but for his minatory appearance.

"Not/but" is presenting a stark contrast. "As/as" is more of a comparison. So, the meanings are a bit different, however not hugely different. Either could be used here.

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