What is the function of "as" in these sentences? How can it be classified? Is it a connector?

1. It's becoming more valuable as a way to market products.
2. He can do it as he plays with computers.

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Posted 17 December 2001

As functions both as a preposition, as in your sentence 1, and as a subordinating conjunction, as in your sentence 2.

The preposition as can introduce a noun or noun phrase that names what someone/ something is or is thought to be, or what the function of someone/ something is.

In your sentence 1, as introduces the noun phrase "a way to market products."

Here are some other sentences with as as a preposition:

She has worked for twenty years as a translator.
The news came as a complete surprise.
As a young man, George was surprisingly handsome.

The subordinating conjunction as serves to introduce a dependent clause. In the case of your sentence 2, as means the same as "while." The sentence means "He can do it while he plays with computers."

Here are some other sentences with as as a subordinating conjunction:

I pulled a muscle as I was lifting the suitcase off the baggage carousel.
As you were sleeping, a terrible storm knocked over two of our trees.
Just as the party began, all the electricity went out.

In these two uses of as ?as preposition and as subordinating conjunction ?the word "connector" does not describe either.

BTW, look at the number of times as is used as a preposition just in this answer alone!