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I am back to the classic 当 vs。 是。 I've heard some people say “这个词也可以是动词” however could I also say "这个词 也可以当动词“ - if so, which sounds more common/colloquial?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

here means act as; be regarded as; be considered as.

is simply to be.

Both words are common and can be used colloquially. In formal/academic context, I'd replace with or 当做.

If the word is not verb but can be used as a verb, you should say 当, e.g.


If the word is a verb, you should say 是, e.g.


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So 当 is used when referring to the non-general usage of the word? – Stephen Aug 8 '14 at 3:05
@Stephen Not exactly but I'm lack of a better way to describe it. To raise another example, check out this sentence: 'In English, the present participle for a verb can be used as a noun or an adjective'. '英语中动词的现在分词形式一般可当名词或形容词'. Instead of saying 'swimming是名词', we'd say 'swimming是swim的现在分词形式当做名词'. – NS.X. Aug 8 '14 at 3:15
like "acting as" - no that definitely makes sense – Stephen Aug 8 '14 at 3:19

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