• My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small Mexican-American school.

(My first job after college was a job as a teacher in Cotulla.)

  • His main scientific contribution was as a statesman of science.

(His main scientific contribution was a contribution as a statesman of science.)

  • His primary identity was as a priest.

(His primary identity was an identity as a priest.)

I've read through the different dictionaries but couldn't find a satisfying explanation of this kind usage of "as". Can I understand these sentences as in the brackets?

  • 1
    "used to say what job, duty, use, or appearance someone or something has" Definition 2 here. Does this help? If not, please explain what you specifically don't understand. – Catija Sep 22 '15 at 20:15
  • 1
    In the role of. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 22 '15 at 20:15
  • @Catija Then what is the difference between the following sentences. 1)"His primary identity was as a priest." 2)"His primary identity was a priest." – whitecap Sep 22 '15 at 20:53
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    It sounds better with "as". Without "as" it makes me think that it's formatted like: *His job was: a priest." or that there's no need to say it was his "job": "He was a priest." – Catija Sep 22 '15 at 20:56
  • The more I keep reading the sentence the more I get the feeling of it. I think I've got it. Thank you, both of you. – whitecap Sep 22 '15 at 21:11

I would say as, in this context, means while in that particular position or suty. For example, your first sentence means... My first job was being a teacher.... The second one means ... Scientific contribution made when he was a scientist or while doing scientific things

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