In the following sentence, should I put 'as' before the adjective 'offensive'?

I hope you won't take my criticism as offensive.

I hope you won't take my criticism offensive.

I feel as if the two sentences with or without 'as' are correct, is it so?

I found a similar sentence as one mentioned above here: https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/take+as

Sam's actions were taken as constructive.

Removing 'as' won't work here. But in my sentence, it seems alright (to me at least).

Also, what is 'as' grammatically here? Since prepositions are placed before nouns or pronouns and 'offensive' is an adjective, is as still a preposition? If I consider 'take as' in the sentence, then surely it is a preposition and it becomes important to place 'as' there. But if I don't think that way, then what is 'as' here?

Will appreciate if someone helps me with it.

2 Answers 2


"As" is classified as a conjunction rather than a preposition.

Take ... as

is a rather complicated idiom that is one of a spectrum of expressions ranging from assertions of objective fact through assertions of subjective perceptions of subjective intent.

Your criticism is offensive

is a statement of fact. (Like all human statements, it may be wrong, but it is intended to be a statement of what is indisputable.)

I find your criticism offensive


Your criticism is offensive in my opinion

It admits, at least formally but perhaps not sincerely, through the "I find" that the statement represents personal opinion. But it definitely labels the criticism as being "offensive."

I take your criticism as offensive

has still yet a different meaning. Again, it admits to being an expression of opinion, but it further qualifies that opinion by refusing to label the criticism explicitly as being offensive. "Take ... as" is to be read as an ellipsis for

I interpret your criticism as {though it was intended to be } offensive.

The "as" is definitely necessary to be idiomatic.

  • You mean that 'as' is classified as a conjunction in this particular example? Because when I referred to Merriam Webster, there were cases of 'as' being used as adverb, conjunction, pronoun, preposition and even as a noun!
    – Raina Ali
    Jan 20, 2019 at 16:37
  • 1
    @RainaAli In modern English, "as" is almost exclusively used as a conjunction. The use of "as" to mean an ancient Roman copper coin is probably known to fewer than 1% of native English speakers. Most of the examples in MW actually show "as" acting in conjunction with adjectives, etc rather than adjectives, etc itself. The distinctions between "like" and "as" are subtle, and "as" is no longer frequently used as a preposition synonymous with "like." In any case, your question definitely involves the conjunctive use of "as," which will be true almost all the time in modern English. Jan 20, 2019 at 17:25

According to traditional grammar, prepositions have objects.  That's a nice simple rule which, unfortunately, doesn't accurately describe the way that the English language works. 

Some more modern analyses of English grammar present a different picture.  Much like verbs, prepositions can license several types of arguments, and sometimes don't bother to license an argument at all. 

The way that you label the word "as" depends on what analysis you understand, on what framework you use, on the way that you define these labels. 

If you define preposition to mean a word that must have an object, then "as" cannot be a preposition.  You'd need to use some other label, perhaps conjunctive adverb.  If you use a more modern definition, then this "as" is a preposition with some kind of argument other than an object.  It's a preposition with an adjectival complement. 

None of this background information directly addresses the question.  Let's do that now:


I hope you won't take my criticism as offensive.

The question is whether this sentence works without the "as".  The answer is no.  The reason is the verb "take".

Several other good sentences exist that don't need this "as":

I hope you won't consider my criticism offensive.
I hope you won't declare my criticism offensive.
I hope you won't find my criticism offensive.
I hope you won't judge my criticism offensive.
I hope you won't label my criticism offensive.

These verbs are complexly transitive.  They license both a direct object and an object complement.  The object complement can be an adjective as easily as it can be a noun. 

The verb "take" is also a transitive verb, but it is not a complex-transitive verb.  It can (rarely) have two arguments.  However, when it does, both of those arguments are objects and the verb is ditransitive:

If you're meeting John later, remember to take him his coat.  He forgot it this morning. 

It's much more common to see "take" used in a monotransitive construction, with a direct object as its one and only argument. 


Because the verb "take" does not by itself license an object complement, the sentence in question needs some other word to govern the adjective "offensive".  We need something that can attach this adjective to the verb "take".  No matter what label we use for the word "as", that word can do that job. 

  • Thank you so much Sir! This is exactly what I needed!
    – Raina Ali
    Jan 20, 2019 at 19:19
  • 1
    By the way, if you're looking at older and more traditional grammar books, you might not find any discussion about monotransitive, ditransitive and complex-transitive verbs. Instead, you're more likely to find material on sentence patterns: subject / verb, subject / verb / object, subject / verb / indirect object / direct object, subject / verb / complement, subject / verb / object / complement. Those patterns align fairly well with intransitive, monotransitive, ditransitive, linking (or copular or even complex-intransitive), and complex-transitive. Same grammar, different perspective. Jan 20, 2019 at 19:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .