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This is from a news article :

Airbus likes to unveil major jet orders at the air show held every other year in its home country. Airbus is one of France’s — and Europe’s — biggest companies, and its performance at the Paris air show is seen as important to its public image in France.

It seems that 'as' is a preposition, but I wonder whether it can take an adjective ('important' here) as its object, rather than a noun.

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    Merriam-Webster says it's a conjunction, but I'm sure it's debatable how you want to describe it. It's certainly grammatical here.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 20, 2023 at 13:05
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    It's a preposition.
    – BillJ
    Jun 20, 2023 at 14:33
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    @BillJ Do prepositions not require a noun complement?
    – gotube
    Jun 20, 2023 at 14:47
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    Grammatically, the adjective phrase "important to its image in France" is predicated of "its performance at the Paris air show". But the adjective phrase is complement of the preposition "as", not of the verb "seen", so it's called an 'oblique predicative complement'.
    – BillJ
    Jun 20, 2023 at 14:50
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    check this out: see as - sense 3.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 20, 2023 at 14:57

2 Answers 2

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... its performance at the Paris air show is seen as important to its public image in France.

Grammatically, the adjective phrase "important to its public image in France" is predicated of "its performance at the Paris air show".

The adjective phrase is complement of the preposition "as", not of the verb "seen", and hence is called an 'oblique predicative complement'.

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    In that analysis, what do you call "is seen" ? Jun 20, 2023 at 16:20
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    @GratefulDisciple "is seen" is not a constituent and hence has no name. "Is" is predicator in the matrix clause verb phrase "is seen as important to its public image", and "seen" is predicator in the subordinate clause verb phrase "seen as important to its public image".
    – BillJ
    Jun 20, 2023 at 16:36
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    Thanks. Do you have a recommendation for an advanced English grammar book for naming constructs like "oblique predicative complement" but not as exhaustive as the venerable The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language ? Jun 20, 2023 at 16:55
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    You need CGEL for a full discussion of such complements. Generally, I can recommend link by the same authors. Look around for the best price, perhaps second-hand.
    – BillJ
    Jun 20, 2023 at 17:10
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    I will. Thanks for the recommendation! Jun 20, 2023 at 17:11
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Changing the sentence to active form will help:

Airbus is one of France’s — and Europe’s — biggest companies, and [people] see its performance at the Paris air show as important to its public image in France.

  • There is an implied (missing) subject: people / audience
  • The verb is "see"
  • The object is "its performance", described further by a location clause "at the Paris air show"

Now it's easier to see that "as important to its public image in France" is a further elaboration of the verb "see", an answer to the implied question "What do people see?"

What part of speech is the "as" in that sentence? Since it modifies a verb, I think it is a preposition introducing an adverbial phrase.

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  • Thank you very much.
    – user157844
    Jun 20, 2023 at 14:32
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    @elise I think BillJ's answer is the correct one, I recommend you accept his answer instead. Jun 20, 2023 at 16:10

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