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Consider:

  1. John Wilkes Booth is known as the man who killed President Lincoln.

  2. Durian is known as the king of fruits.`

  3. She is known as an actress.

  4. I want to be known as the guy I really am.
  5. She is known as the author of The New York Times best-selling series The Underland Chronicles and The Hunger Games trilogy.

These are sentences that have the phrase "known as".

  1. Drew Scanlon, better known as the blinking guy.

  2. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Lenin.

  3. Suzanne Collins, best known as the author of "The Hunger Games" trilogy.

  4. He is known as the coward in our school.

These are the ones that have the phrase "better known as" and "best known as".

I am confused as to what these sentences really intend to mean. Note that I know the literal meaning of some of them. I am confused because of how they differ from sentences like:

B1. He is a mass murderer.

B2. Drew Scanlon is the blinking guy.

B3. Suzanne Collins is the author of "The Hunger Games" trilogy.

In my opinion, this sentences just describes something but it doesn't seem right because it seems like I am missing some point(emphasis, the fact that people know, popularity)

These type of sentences are common and I used to just ignore them. It may be very simple for English native speakers but in my language we don't really use this phrase much so it is hard to perceive the meanings.

What is the meaning of these sentences and when should we use them, and for what purpose? Thorough answer would be appreciated.

ALso, it would be much better if you interpreted every sentence. Thanks in advance.

  • good, better, best. Why are you posting so many examples? It makes for laborious reading. You should simplify your examples. [correction: I am confused as to what these sentences really intend to mean, no do] – Lambie Oct 28 '19 at 15:55
  • Thanks for the suggestion. – lollel123 Oct 28 '19 at 16:07
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Your B examples are facts about a person. They may or may not be known about the person. Your 1 to 10 examples are what fact the person is known for.

B1 might be about me (how did you guess?) but I'm not famous for anything yet (until the police knock on the door).

Putting the two types of statement together:

Drew Scanlon founded the Cloth Map company but is better known as the blinking guy.

He founded the Cloth Map company is a B type of statement. It's a fact about somebody which may or may not be widely known. (In your 3 B examples the fact may be widely known, but that's not necessarily true - I've never heard of Drew Scanlon before.) These B statements are random facts about people.

The Lenin example is really just a fact: not many people remember his real/original name but most people have heard of Lenin.

The known as/best known as constructions say why I should have heard of them, not just some random thing about them.

Best known as means that the person may be known for a number of things, but this is what they're mostly remembered for. 'Vladimir was known as a lover of cats, but best known as Lenin'.

  • Thanks for the answer. Removed almost all of my confusion. But I'll wait for other answers for now. :) – lollel123 Oct 28 '19 at 16:28
  • What does it mean if someone said "I am better known as a comedian"? – lollel123 Oct 29 '19 at 5:22
  • There needs to be some context, as the 'better known as a comedian'' needs to be based on something else which he is known as. For example, 'I am a physicist, but I am better known as a comedian'. Or part of a conversation - Me 'You're a physicist, right?' Him 'Yes, but I'm better known as a comedian'. Some people know of him as a physicist but more know of him as a comedian. – simon at rcl Oct 29 '19 at 11:41
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The construction known as for a person indicates publicly known information, or a common nickname or alias that person goes by, or an action or event that the person is famous for. You say that information is known to indicate it is a matter of public record, or at the very least something the intended audience is expected to know.

When talking about famous people, saying they are known as or better known as something is emphasizing the trait, deed, or alias by which they are most recognized by the public, often as a way to remind people of who somebody is. This is helpful when a person's real name is used less often than their stage name, moniker, or some other reference (i.e. the musician Sean Combs is better known as P Diddy, his real name is seldom ever used by the public and might not be recognized as talking about the famous artist).

In the case of somebody like John Wilkes Boothe, the fact that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated is common knowledge, but not everybody might remember or instantly recognize the name of his assassin. So in this case, the construction is saying "even if you don't recognize this name, you may know him as the man who committed the infamous assassination of Abraham Lincoln".

In all cases though, known as always implies information that is commonly known, either by the public or by whoever the intended audience is. This is the key difference between using known as in comparison to simply stating facts. You cannot say a person is known as the person who did an obscure or little known deed, nor can you say they are better known as a nickname hardly anybody recognizes, however you could easily state these things as facts about that person.

  • Thanks for the answer! Very good answer indeed. – lollel123 Oct 28 '19 at 17:35
  • What does it mean if someone said "I am better known as a comedian"? – lollel123 Oct 29 '19 at 5:22

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