2

I get a bit confused when counterchecking the dictionaries of Cambridge and Oxford against one another. In the Cambridge dictionary, it is written that "We don’t use 'as' with 'consider'" and an incorrect example is given. Cambridge dictionary:

enter image description here

On the other hand, I found that according to Oxford dictionary it can be used .

Oxford dictionary (second meaning):

enter image description here

The links provided below are the places where I found this difference between the two dictionaries. Can anyone explain this to me, or tell me which is correct? Thanks so much for your help.

Oxford: "https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/consider?q=consider"

Cambridge: "https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/consider-or-regard"

5
  • It does seem inconsistent. I'd just suggest that the extra 'padding' in You should consider this as a long-term investment (which I'd say is totally acceptable, possibly a deletion from You should consider this as being a long-term investment) lends a more natural sound. We consider this as a ... doesn't sound as natural. Possibly both dictionaries need to go into a deeper analysis here. Apr 28, 2021 at 16:13
  • It seems to me that I should accept the dictionary Cambridge concept :))) However, I still need someone who can help me explain clearly the difference between both of them.
    – Myn13
    Apr 28, 2021 at 16:22
  • OLD is correct in that acceptable examples occur. CD is too draconian, but adds a needed caveat that a lot of examples won't be idiomatic. Apr 28, 2021 at 16:43
  • 1
    Contrast “consider him a friend” with “consider him as a friend”. The first sounds more like an immediate change in status from non-friend to friend while the second sounds more hypothetical.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 28, 2021 at 17:09
  • 1
    The entries also serve different purposes. The Cambridge entry is in the grammar section (not the English dictionary), which has the tone of a British style and usage guide. The Oxford entry is in the dictionary. I'd expect a style guide to tell me what not to do; I wouldn't expect a dictionary to. Apr 28, 2021 at 19:04

2 Answers 2

-1

Simply, these two authorities disagree on this particular point. This problem is a recurring one in the study of all languages and it stems from the fact that given the great complexity and unsettled nature of such a system as a language, not all humans speaking a given language as their mother tongue can perceive it in the same way, and this is true in particular for the specialists of the language. This is one of a reason why there exists several dictionaries. Most of the time the different authorities agree amongst themselves and there are only slight differences such as wording and choice of synonyms. However, sometimes there is a clash, as in the present case.

In this particular case of disagreement, there is no difference in interpretation. As I understand these forms, the choice made by the Cambridge team shows a better style, the reason for that being in my opinion the fact that "as" is a somewhat overworked grammatical word; so I'd rather read "considered to be" rather than "considered as". However, there does not appear to exist a hard and fast argument against using "as", no clear cut logical inference to lead to a categorical prescription.

There might be a more or less great part of subjectivity involved in this usage. Considering "to view as", which is recorded in OALD but not mentioned in the Cambridge dictionary, it can be seen from this ngram that there is a sure inkling that "viewed to be" would not convey the concept as convincingly in the mind of the native speaker.

-1

People sometimes may use "consider as" to mean "consider to be," but if that is the actual intended meaning, it's a mistake because the words themselves don't mean "consider to be" but actually mean the exact opposite.

"Consider as" actually means "consider like." When something is "like" something else, it is not that something else but is merely in some way similar to it. So, if you say, for example, "I consider you as a friend," maybe you mean to call me a friend, but you're actually calling me something similar to a friend, meaning I am NOT a friend. I am merely as a friend, like a friend, similar to a friend, thus not a friend.

"Consider as" is fine phrasing if what you mean is "consider like" or "consider similar to," and maybe you do! The use of "consider as" over "consider to be" in situations can be a Freudian slip, meaning that one is betraying that one either consciously or unconsciously doesn't actually consider that something to be that something else, or to borrow on the above example, you don't actually consider me to be "a friend" and your use of "as" is a conscious or unconscious way for you to avoid calling me "a friend" when the situation seems to be pushing you towards you calling me "a friend."

Therefore, if you mean "consider to be," you should say "consider to be" (e.g., I consider you to be a friend.) or even just "consider" (e.g., I consider you a friend.), but NOT "consider as." On the other hand, if you don't mean "consider to be" but mean "consider as," as in "consider like" or "consider similar to," then "consider as" (e.g., I consider you as a friend.) is a perfectly fine and grammatical way of expressing that.

2
  • OLD actually licenses the 'consider as' to mean 'consider to be' sense. Claiming the opposite without supporting references is unscholarly. In fact, OP is asking about which conflicting dictionary claim is correct, so answers looking to be pure opinion are even worse than usual. Apr 28, 2021 at 18:45
  • 1
    I agree with you Benjamin. I think there is a subtle difference in considering something as one would consider (in the same way that one would consider) some other thing. The difference being the idea that the thing is acknowledged to not be that other thing but is only being considered in the same way it would be considered versus actually considering the thing to be the other thing.
    – Jim
    Apr 29, 2021 at 2:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.