We shall discuss the problem as it relates to our specific case.

What does "as" in this sentence mean? I searched a dictionary and found two alternative definitions. one is in the way in which; the other is the reason for doing something, “because” in short.

Usually, I can distinguish these two definitions, but in this case, I'm inclined to understand it with the meaning of because, like, the reason why we discuss the problem is because it concerns itself with our specific case, which makes perfect sense to me. However, the answer shows that the former definition is the right one, but why?

  • I'd say it's ambiguous between the two meanings you suggest. To emphasise reason, you could set off the as expression with punctuation such as a comma.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 10:44
  • What "answer" are you referring to in your last sentence?
    – BillJ
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 11:33
  • @BillJ the answer is just a translation of my own language, I found it was different from what I expected. Commented May 23, 2022 at 11:45
  • 1
    The answer is wrong, As I said, it's ambiguous between a comparative PP and a reason adjunct, though a comma after "problem" would help disambiguate. Btw, "ambiguous" means there is more than one answer. You'll just have to accept that.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 13:30
  • 1
    @wonderfulwonder "Out of" means "originating from". You could use it like "I washed the dishes out of a sense of responsibility", but it doesn't mean "because" in general. The best way to say what you wanted would just be "So it's idiomatic, right?"
    – stangdon
    Commented May 25, 2022 at 13:04

1 Answer 1


Can you provide more context for the sentence?

The first meaning of as is the most likely. This would make the sentence mean "We shall discuss those aspects of the problem that relate to our specific case".

It would be possible to understand as as meaning because, but the sentence would have to be

We shall discuss the problem, as it relates to our specific case.

-- meaning that we would not have discussed it otherwise.

  • Sorry, there is no context to it. So, regardless of the second meaning, what makes you think that the first one is the most likely? Are there some sort of mindsets or grammatical rules helping me understand this sentence in the way that "as" is used in the first meaning? Commented May 23, 2022 at 11:28
  • You mention an answer, so there must be some context! As Bill J. says, and as I showed in my example, a comma would make the 'because' meaning certain. Commented May 23, 2022 at 12:11

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