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Consider this example:

Subjectivity detection or ranking at the document level can be thought of as having its roots in studies in genre classification.

I don't get what is the type of clause after thought of as, and what meaning this structure is trying to convey.

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Short answer: It means "It's possible for us to think of subjectivity detection or ranking at the document level that it has its roots in studies in genre classification."


Let's dissect the sentence:

Subjectivity detection or ranking at the document level can be thought of as having its roots in studies in genre classification.

  1. Let's replace the subject (Subjectivity detection or ranking at the document level) with X to make the structure of the sentence clearer.

    X can be thought of as having its roots in studies in genre classification.

  2. Let's turn it into the active voice:

    We can think of X as having its roots in studies in genre classification.

  3. To get to the meaning, let's ask ourselves:

    We can think of X as having its roots in studies in genre classification.
    We can think of X as what?
    As having its roots in studies in genre classification.
    (= (It's possible for us to think that) X has its roots in studies in genre classification.)

According to Macmillan, as being is:

used for saying that someone or something is considered or described in a particular way [...]
as being/having: Madeira is described as having the best climate in the world

There are many words that work like this, i.e. it's followed by a verb in the -ing form. The common ones besides as are without and instead of. For example,

He left without saying anything.
We decide to give him another chance instead of failing him for not completing the assignment.

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