You know the word “considered”? Using it is not nearly as complicated as many of you seem to think it is.
More and more, I’m seeing maddening phrases such as Vincent Van Gogh being “considered as one of the most influential modern artists.” Or this one about Sen. Jeff Flake, who is “considered as one of the most vulnerable Republican senators to face re-election in 2018.”
And here’s this doozy from Rob Demetrious, a Yahoo! Finance journalist who’s followed by none other than former President Barack Obama:
Seeing this kind of mistake not only infuriates me, but also breaks by heart, because it is so, so easily avoided.
It doesn't take any tricky, hard-to-remember grammar rules to get it right (which is often the case with apostrophes – read about that great debate in my previous column rig).
In reality, avoiding this error is all about slowing down, and taking another look at the words you use every day – and hardly ever think twice about.
In short, the “considered as” construction is almost always redundant. If you use “considered” to describe what people think of someone or something, you simply don’t need “as.”
For instance, “LeBron James is considered one of the best basketball players of all time.”
Or, “Bad grammar should be considered a crime.”
No “as” needed in either example. At all.
Uh … says who?
Yours truly, of course.
But if that’s not convincing enough, the editors of the Merriam-Webster and Cambridge dictionaries seem to agree with me.
Merriam-Webster editor Emily Brewester is a little more forgiving of “considered as” than I am, writing that “as constructions are perfectly idiomatic," (in other words, natural to native English), "but are not as common in recent use as they have been in the past.”
However, she does concede that “sentences without as are more idiomatic” (bold mine), and sound “more natural and current to my ears.”
Basically, she doesn’t recommend using “considered as.”
But the Cambridge Dictionary’s position on the matter is far more black and white. Under a bold “warning," they declare – and in no uncertain terms – that “we don’t use as with consider.”
Exceptions to the rule
Despite painstaking (with emphasis on the “pain” part) research, I could find only two kinds of sentences where “considered as” is OK to use.
In the “English Language Learners” forum of StackExchange, user “Vilmar” wisely provides the following example of the first kind of sentence:
“We suggest tool B to be considered as another approach to solving the problem” (the bold is Vilmar’s).
In other words, it's OK when something is being considered for some new purpose, or a person is being considered for a possible new position. A good real-world example of this is the following headline from the New York Times:
“Considered as” can also work in simple comparisons, such as, “Lions are considered as dangerous as tigers.”
‘Considered to be’ … or not to be
Another one that drives me insane is “considered to be.” While both Merriam-Webster and Cambridge say it’s OK, I beg to differ.
In most cases, you can do away with “to be,” because it’s almost as redundant as “considered as.”
Case in point, this headline from Myrtle Beach Online:
Of course, those cops could also be looking for a man simply “considered armed and dangerous” – but we’re guessing it’s the same guy.