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What is the exact difference in the meaning between these sentences:

The intercepted arc might be thought of as the part of the circle which is inside the inscribed angle.

and

The intercepted arc might be thought of the part of the circle which is inside the inscribed angle.

What is the role of "as" in the sentence?

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    The intercepted arc might be thought of the part of the circle which is inside the inscribed angle (no as) sounds like broken English to me. Jul 1, 2016 at 5:47
  • Here in this case I think we can't omit as. You can also use to be there, but then you have to drop of. But sentences like - They thought religion good. is also spoken without the need of as. Jul 2, 2016 at 1:50

2 Answers 2

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As as a preposition is also used to say what a person considers a person or thing is. For example, I regard or think of him as my friend.

According to Oxford Dictionary, 'think of as' is a phrasal verb that implies to consider someone or something in a particular way. For example, I think of this place as my home.

When you use the verbs regard or think of in the said sense, you must use the structure regard/think if + object +as. However, you don't usualky use the preposition as after consider. For example I consider him (to be) the best actor.

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  • There was an interesting shift between using as and to be in passive voice: books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Cardinal
    Jul 1, 2016 at 6:52
  • Cardinal, yes,, you are right.
    – Khan
    Jul 1, 2016 at 7:21
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"As" is a preposition here. According to the Cambridge Dictionary,

We use as with a noun to refer to the role or purpose of a person or thing:
I worked as a waiter when I was a student. Most of us did.
The Daily Telegraph appointed Trevor Grove as its Sunday editor.
Internet shopping is seen as a cheaper alternative to shopping on the high street.

Wiktionary describes it thus:

In the role of.  
What is your opinion as a parent?‎

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  • Do you mean that "The intercepted arc might be thought of the part of the circle which is inside the inscribed angle" is wrong sentence ? Do you mean that "The intercepted arc might be thought of as the part of the circle which is inside the inscribed angle" is only right sentence?
    – user37175
    Jul 1, 2016 at 4:27
  • @user37175 - I'm not sure. It could be passable, but I like the first sentence better. I'm not sure when we can (or cannot) omit the preposition "as". Jul 1, 2016 at 4:29
  • // Do you mean that the meaning of each of the sentences are equal to each other?
    – user37175
    Jul 1, 2016 at 4:35
  • @user37175 No. The sentences are not equivalent in meaning. The sentence "The intercepted arc might be thought of the part of the circle which is inside the inscribed angle" is not grammatically correct. It is meaningless. A native English speaker would not be able to make sense of it. Without the preposition "as," the relationship between the clauses is not discernible. Jul 1, 2016 at 4:35
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    What is the exact difference in the meaning between "The intercepted arc might be thought of as the part of the circle" and "The intercepted arc might be thought as part of the circle" ?
    – user37175
    Jul 1, 2016 at 4:47

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