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He was known for a great pioneer.

Does the sentence look idiomatic?

I think 'as' instead for is more appropriate.

2 Answers 2

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You are right. "For" in that setting is not only non-idiomatic, it's actually wrong.

As relates to the person. It is equivalent to "to be". These sentences are the same:

  1. He was known as a great pioneer.
  2. He was known to be a great pioneer.

For relates to the qualities or activities of the person. For example:

  1. He was known as a great pioneer.

  2. He was known for his great pioneering deeds.

  3. She was known as a kind-hearted woman.

  4. She was known for her kind heart, and for all the work she did at the local community hall.

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I believe it should be:

He was known as a great pioneer.

Or:

He was known for being a great pioneer.

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