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I've noticed that my group-members (Dutch) start a lot of their written sentences with "As" when they are giving an explanation or a reason.

Example:

As the library exists has existed for several years now, it should be obvious that a lot has changed.

Is this usage of "As" here correct? To me it seems using "Because" or "Due to the fact that ..." would be a lot better.

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As is a rather overworked word: check this freedictionary definition. Yes, it can be used in place of "because", but you have to be very careful to avoid confusion in a particular context. In this context, it's fine.

Some people worry about starting a sentence with "because" -here's why - but in this case "because" would be fine.

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It is fine to use "As" here, and it is fairly common.

As the library has existed for several years now, it should be obvious that alot has changed.

I am not going to play, as my leg hurts.

Synonyms:

  • Because
  • Since
  • Seeing as
  • Considering that

It can also be used to used to indicate that something happens during the time when something else is taking place.

I turned on the TV as he walked out.

Synonyms:

  • While
  • Just as
  • Seeing as
  • Considering that

It can also be used for emphasis.

As fast as a cheetah.

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In your example, as is used in place of

As is the case
Because
Since
Due to the fact

They are all interchangeable, it is a better of style and expression, but using any of the alternatives doesn't change the meaning.

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