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Don't be afraid of being the way you are

Don't be afraid of being the way as you are.

Don't be afraid of being the way that you are.

Is there any difference among them?

I feel natural with 'being the way you are' and saw the first sentence mostly.

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    Yes - the first is the most natural, the third is possible and the second is not idiomatic English. Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 18:43
  • Kate, what about "Don't be afraid of being the way in which you are." and "Don't be afraid of being the way by which you are."?
    – gomadeng
    Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 19:44
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    @gonderang - those aren't idiomatic either. Don't use them.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 22:15

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The noun "way" has some peculiar features. As with other nouns, we can modify it with a relative clause:

Don't be afraid of being the way in which you are.

However, in many cases (such as this one) it is unnatural to do so when the relative pronoun (in this case "which") is modified by a preposition (in this case "in"). Instead, we can replace those words with "that":

Don't be afraid of being the way that you are.

Omitting "that" when it introduces a clause is fairly common, and we can do so in this situation, too:

Don't be afraid of being the way you are.

I don't find your second example sentence ("don't be afraid of being the way as you are") to be natural, and I'm not even sure how it could make grammatical sense.

Finally, I'd like to make two points:

  1. This feature occurs frequently with "way", but it can also occur with some other nouns. For example, "this is the first time during which I've been here" would typically be replaced by "this is the first time [[that]] I've been here".

  2. I like to consider ". . . way in which . . ." to be the basic construction and other versions to be derivatives. This isn't the only way [[in which]] to explain this concept, though.

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  • In English class, I learned the only, the first, the very, superlative form of adjective, etc. takes 'that' as a relative pronoun: isn't the only way [[that]]
    – gomadeng
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 18:20
  • @gomadeng Yes, but "that" can be used in other situations with "way", as well: "I like the way that you talk", and so forth. Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 19:58
  • Yes. Most English books in my residence says the way or how or the way that or the way in which or the way by which are the same things. In modern English, the way how is regarded as non-grammatical though it was grammatical in old English.
    – gomadeng
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 20:04

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