Do following sentences imply same thing and Is there anything wrong with the first one?

1) Were you bullied as a kid?
2) Were you bullied in your childhood?

5 Answers 5


1) Were you bullied as a kid?
2) Were you bullied in your childhood?

Yes, they mean the same thing. No, there is nothing wrong with the first sentence.

The as a kid part describes the age of the person who was (supposedly) bullied.

I forgot how to exactly name this construction. An adjunct of time, probably? Here's an example:

I travelled a lot as a kid. (When I was a kid, I travelled a lot)

P.S. To me, the sentences mean the same, but to some native speakers, there's a slight difference: see other answers. To other native speakers they also mean the same though.

  • Yeah I had doubts about usage of "as a" thingy. I'm still not sure as to how it works :) I guess it's a phrase and I don't have to understand how it is constructed. Is it so?
    – Sandeep D
    Feb 7, 2015 at 18:50
  • 3
    Hmmm... A. They don't mean the same. One asks about a past stage in life (in/during your childhood), the other about one's age in life (as a kid = when you were a kid). B. "At the party...I was treated as a kid", while correct, is much more likely to be stated "...I was treated like a kid." Frequent would be "I was treated for (some disease) as a kid."
    – user6951
    Feb 7, 2015 at 20:32
  • 1
    I think it is wisest to avoid naming these constructions unless you're doing scientific research. A person learning English is learning to use the language, not recite a taxonomy of constructions. A handful of truly fundamental grammatical terms help enormously, but the esoteric ones that linguists debate about only add to your burden and distract from learning to use the language.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 8, 2015 at 5:16
  • 2
    @SandeepDhamija I'll try to explain as a in another answer. BTW, please consider allowing a day or two before accepting an answer. Sometimes the real question only emerges gradually.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 8, 2015 at 5:21
  • 1
    This native AmE speaker finds the two sentences to have the same meaning.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 8, 2015 at 5:40

1) Were you bullied as a kid?
2) Were you bullied in your childhood?

To my ears there is a subtle difference: "Well, it did happen, but only once," essentially answers "No" to "as a kid", but "Yes" to "in your childhood".

I think the difference is that "as a kid" implies a more continual activity. "In your childhood" allows either a single event or a continual activity. So, while @CopperKettle is right to a first approximation, there is still a slight difference.


I agree with CopperKettle's answer to this question.

"Kid" is informal; "childhood" is formal. Thus, "as a kid" is less formal than "during your childhood" or "when you were a child".

"Bullied" is informal. ("Bully" is a word used by "kids" to describe other "kids" who are "mean to them".) "Bullied" is a little more formal than "kid", but much less formal than "childhood".

Also, asking "you" a rhetorical question is less formal than making a third-person statement.

Thus, the first example question has a consistent level of informality. The second example question has an inconsistent mix of formality and informality.

  • 1
    Bullying is absolutely not restricted to kids. And I'd like to hear the formal equivalent to "bullied".
    – gnasher729
    Feb 7, 2015 at 19:56
  • @gnasher729 -- Correct. But when an adult is described as a "bully", there is a connotation that the adult is acting like a cruel child, not like a civilized and responsible adult. I think that "bullied" "is a little more formal than" "kid" precisely because I cannot immediately come up with more formal synonyms for "bullied".
    – Jasper
    Feb 7, 2015 at 19:59
  • @gnasher729 - For a more formal version of "bullied", perhaps "harassed"?
    – stangdon
    Feb 7, 2015 at 20:49

The word as has many meanings and uses in English. Its primary meaning is to say that two actions, qualities, things, etc. are the same or have the same degree: "Do as I say" (Do what I tell you to do), "She ran as fast as an antelope" (Her speed when running was equal to the speed of an antelope when running). This main meaning of comparison gets refined and specialized in various common phrases. In this answer, I'll explain just enough to understand "Were you bullied as a kid?"

As a noun

See if you can figure out the meaning of these sentences:

You can use a wooden box as a chair. In other words, you can sit on a wooden box.

You can use a telephone as a hammer. In other words, you can pound nails with a telephone.

You can use a piece of rope as a belt. In other words, you can tie a piece of rope around your waist to hold up your pants.

Each use an A as a B sentence compares A to B but limits A to the capacity or aspect named by B.

See if you can figure out the meaning of these sentences:

During the day, I work as an accountant for the XYZ corporation. In the evenings, I serve as a referee in an amateur hockey league.

Here, as a noun simply indicates a particular capacity. The speaker works in one capacity during the day, and another capacity during the evening.

Now see if you can understand these sentences:

As an accountant, I have received many rewards for my faithful service. As a referee, I have received only complaints from people who think I have made errors.

The as a noun phrase limits what part of the speaker's life the rest of the sentence talks about.

A natural extension of these common usages is to say person as a stage of life to limit the scope of what you are talking about to just the indicated stage of life of the person:

Were you bullied as a kid?

This means the same as "Were you bullied during childhood?" It's similar to these sentences:

Were you rewarded as an accountant? In other words, did you receive rewards for the services you performed in the role of accountant?

Were you booed as a referee? In other words, did people boo you for actions you took in the role of referee?

Other uses

I can only hint at the many other ways of using as. There is no fixed number of ways of using it. Hopefully what you've seen above illustrates how people extend or refine it for various uses.

Using as to indicate limitation to a specific capacity can also work like this:

The mother of the Minister for Overseas Development treated him as a child.

This means that the Minister's mother treated him as if he were a child, as in this Monty Python skit.

  1. "Were you bullied as a kid?
  2. Were you bullied in your childhood?

both of them, are tell the past activities.

So when we say "as a kid"; refers to "to tell a past activities as kids"

If the person has a lot a activities, there's singular, "you" and "I" are a part of the sentences. "I" isn't a letter, It's just a 3rd person. When the child going some memories and other forms of those who was a child.

in our definition, like i say in Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Kid - a young person

if your using their words, make sure to used a word to make sure we have an example

I loved travel a lot with my mother as a kid

speaking of childhood, here's our quote of the day

If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman. Margaret Thatcher, British politician (1925-2013)

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