< Meanings of 'As'
By Gena Bennett
26 January 2024

Hello! This week on Ask a Teacher, we answer a question from Bill in China about the word "as."


Dear VOA,

Ask a Teacher: Meanings of 'as'
Ask a Teacher: Meanings of 'as'

Thank you for your high quality American English teaching!

The following sentence is from one of your recent news, and I can't understand a bit of it. Would you like to help me?

And the comedy "Poor Things" upset summer hit "Barbie," as Hollywood threw its biggest party since labor disputes shut down much of show business last year.

To be precise, I can't understand the part after "as Hollywood..."

I think "as Hollywood..." might be a reason to describe the part before.

Thanks a lot.

Yours sincerely,

Bill YANG from Beijing, China


Thank you for writing, Bill. This is a very good question. The word "as" has many meanings and uses in English. In your example, "as" is a subordinator. Subordinators are used to join two clauses and add information.

In this sentence, "as" shows that the events were happening at the same time. The movie "Poor Things" upset the movie "Barbie" at the same time that Hollywood threw its biggest party. Both things happened at the Golden Globes earlier this month.

In addition to meaning "at the same time," "as" can be used to establish a reason.

I don't need to write it down, as I trust myself.

"I trust myself" is the reason I don't need to write it down.

"As" can also be used to point to the future. For example:

As you're coming to the station, you'll see a pub in front of you.

In this sentence, "as" points to a future time.

"As" is often used as a subordinator in many longer phrases. These phrases include "as long as", "as soon as", "as far as".

There are many other ways to use "as" in a sentence. It can be a preposition, part of a prepositional verb, and used with adjectives or adverbs for comparison. But we can talk about those meanings another time.

We hope this explanation helps you understand the meaning of "as" in your example, Bill.

Do you have a question about American English? Send us an email at learningenglish@voanews.com.

And that's Ask a Teacher.

I'm Gena Bennett.

Gena Bennett wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

a bitadv. a little, a small amount

preciseadj. exact

upsetv. to push out of place

clausen. a group of words with a verb

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