As you hear and read more English, you will come across many idioms and phrases that either sound odd or possibly don’t make sense to you. Many of these have developed over time, and native English speakers use them without even thinking. One of these is the phrase “as you are aware.”
It is correct to say “As you are aware” when introducing a topic that the person you are addressing already knows about. You would most often use “as you are aware” when speaking or writing in a formal environment. In a more casual setting, you would more likely say, “As you know.”
This article will explore the phrase “as you are aware,” how it originated as well as when and how we can use it. We’ll also examine alternatives and consider the role of prepositions as well as the broader use of phrases and idioms in English.
What Does “As You Are Aware” Mean?
“As you are aware” means the same as “as you know.” We use the phrase to introduce a sentence when the person hearing or reading it knows the information that follows.
“Aware” means to have knowledge of something (source), and the phrase, therefore, refers to something you already have knowledge of.
Usage of the word “aware” dates back to Old English, where the word “gewær” meant “watchful” or “vigilant” (source). The word has its roots in Dutch and German, where it originated from the root word “wer,” meaning to perceive or watch for.
How Do You Use “As You Are Aware”?
We use the phrase “as you are aware” as an introduction when we are about to mention something that those listening or reading are already aware of.
For instance, we might use it when addressing employees to say, “As you are aware, orders have slowed dramatically this quarter, so we are compelled to cut back on our workforce.”
Or, you might use it in an email to committee members that says, “We need to raise $5000, as you are aware, and suggest holding a bake sale next week to that end.” Here we are saying that, as you know, we need to raise $5000 and, therefore, suggest holding a bake sale.
When Can You Use “As You Are Aware”?
You can use “as you are aware” any time that the audience you are addressing already knows about whatever you are referring to. Generally, we might use it in fairly formal settings such as the workplace or other formal environments.
It’s appropriate in both spoken and written communications when you know who you are addressing. In a newspaper article, for instance, you wouldn’t use the phrase because you wouldn’t know whether everyone reading the article was aware of the information or not.
In What Context Can You Use “As You Are Aware”?
We would most often use the phrase “as you are aware” in a formal context. It would usually serve to confirm a piece of information that people should already be aware of and to add extra particulars about that.
Sometimes, we use “as you are aware” to reprimand the listener. Our tone can imply this as well as the content of the rest of the sentence.
We could say something like, “As you are aware, nobody is permitted here after hours.” The purpose would be to convey to the listener that he or she should have known the rules. In this context, it would serve as a subtle rebuke or reprimand.
Using “As You Are Aware” in a Full Sentence
There are many ways to use “as you are aware” in a full sentence. For example, the phrase can go at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence, as in the examples below.
Is there any reason, as far as you are aware, why they should not prosecute Mr. Smith for these crimes?
As you are aware, we suffered serious damage from the storm and are now busy with repairs.
She has already made her opinion known, as you are aware.
Next Tuesday is a holiday, as you are aware, so the banks will be closed.
As you are aware, she is unconscious and unable to answer any questions from the police.
The mayor has declined an interview, as you are aware.
When Not to Use “As You Are Aware”
We should not use “as you are aware” in an informal context unless we are being ironic or using the phrase to highlight an oversight. Also, we cannot use “as you are aware” if we don’t know who we are addressing or if they are or are not aware of the information we’re referring to.
If there’s a chance you may unintentionally cause offense by using a phrase that is either overly formal or has a potentially negative effect, then it’s usually best to avoid it.
“As you are aware” can sound very sarcastic if it implies that you should have known something, so be very careful that you only use it in environments where your audience will properly understand your intention.
What Can You Use Instead of “As You Are Aware”?
The most obvious alternative to the phrase “as you are aware,” especially in an informal context, is “as you know” or something similar. There are also various words we can add to the phrase “as you are aware” to add subtle nuance to it.
Below are some examples of alternatives to “as you are aware”:
- As you know
- As you may know
- As you probably know
- As you may well know
- As you might be aware
- As you are no doubt aware
- As you perhaps know
- As you are well aware
When adding other words to the phrase “as you are aware,” you can slightly alter the nuance of meaning. For instance, “as you may be aware” suggests that you possibly don’t already know the information, while “as you are no doubt aware” confirms that you should definitely know it.
It’s important to note that tone and context play a very important role when we speak. If I said to you, “Please be kind to Jane because, as you are aware, she’s had a really hard time,” then I’m simply making a request, and there’s no chance of someone misunderstanding.
However, if I said, “As I’m sure you are aware, Jane has had a hard time, so please be kind,” then my suggestion that you should be aware could possibly offend you, especially if you aren’t!
In both these examples, we could easily substitute “as you know” for “as you are aware,” and it wouldn’t affect the meaning of the sentences.
If we assume that using “as you are aware” sounds stuffy and could potentially cause offense, then there are many other ways that we can say the same thing without overtly pointing out what someone should or may know.
We could use words such as “naturally” or “evidently” that imply something is obvious without saying you should know it. We could say, for example, “Naturally, I’d rather be on the winning team” or “She evidently doesn’t enjoy socializing after work.”
We could also write these examples as, “As you are aware, I’d rather be on the winning team” or “She doesn’t enjoy socializing after work, as you are aware,” but they sound more natural and less patronizing when you say them more simply.
Another alternative is to introduce your information with something like one of the following:
- Needless to say
- It goes without saying
- It stands to reason
These all imply that the recipient probably already knows the information to follow, but because they omit the pronoun “you,” they aren’t as personal and are less likely to offend. Consider the sentences below that make use of these phrases instead.
- Needless to say, we’ll need to cut costs this quarter.
- It goes without saying that Jack is going to have to train hard to make the team.
- She feels unwelcome, so it stands to reason that she won’t want to join them.
And now, consider how formal and wordy the alternatives sound when we use “as you are aware.”
- As you are aware, we’ll need to cut costs this quarter.
- As you are aware, Jack is going to have to train hard to make the team.
- She feels unwelcome, as you are aware, and won’t want to join them.
The Role of a Preposition
If we examine the phrase “as you are aware,” we can see it contains the following parts:
If we just say, “you are aware,” we are simply stating a fact. However, when we add the preposition “as” in front, the sentence has many more possibilities.
It’s important to note that “as” can also serve as an adverb (as fast as you) or conjunction (I didn’t eat the meal as I was feeling sick) but serves as a preposition in the case of “as you are aware.”
What Are Prepositions?
The role of the little word “as” is a very important one because it changes the whole context of the sentence. Prepositions are mostly small words like “in,” “at,” “as,” or “to” that we use before a noun or pronoun to indicate direction, place, manner, time, spatial relationships, or to introduce an object (source).
Without prepositions, English wouldn’t make sense. This is because they create relationships between the object of the sentence and the other words by helping us understand order, time, place, and other connections.
The table below summarizes the key functions of a preposition. You will note that many prepositions sit in more than one category, making them tricky to master. Often, it’s only through hearing spoken English that you learn to select the correct one naturally.
|Direction||To, in, on, into, onto||She drove to the shops.|
Jack climbed onto the table.
I stepped across the broken glass.
|Place||In, on, above, near, across, etc.||The pilot flew over the city.|
Please park near the fountain.
I live in Pittsburgh.
|Manner||By, with, like, etc.||She loves dancing with Tim.|
He looks like his dad.
We went to the theatre by taxi.
|Time||In, at, on||Jane arrived at 3 p.m.She travels to Europe in June.|
I’m leaving for New York on Friday.
|Measure||Of, by||I need four cups of milk for this recipe.|
He sells fabric by the yard.
|Source||By, from||The book was written by my teacher.|
Her speech was written from the heart.
|Possession||To, of, with||Jane is the girl with the red hair.|
This book is the property of the local library.
This house belongs to my father.
So What Does “As” Mean in “As You Are Aware”?
When we use it as a preposition, “as” offers further information about the noun by describing the purpose or quality of that thing (source). In the context of “as you are aware,” “as” functions as a preposition of manner.
In other contexts, “as” can function as an adverb (I am as tall as you) or as a conjunction (I booked a cab as it was getting late).
For more on the role of “as” as a preposition, read our article “Is it Correct to Say ‘As Per Your Request’?”
Phrases and Idioms
English has countless phrases and idioms that color our language and allow us to express ideas without spelling them out. Idioms are phrases where the meaning is broader than the literal meaning of the words.
“As you are aware” has a literal meaning, but it also has some subtext because we can take it to mean “as you should know,” thereby implying that if you don’t know, that is your oversight. There are many such phrases in English where the words we use have a slightly deeper meaning.
Let’s look at a few of the more popular English idioms and their meanings. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
|Get your act together||Be organized and effectively carry out your responsibilities.|
|Sell like hot cakes||Sell very quickly.|
|Cut corners||Do something in a quicker and cheaper way.|
|Break fresh ground||Do something new and untested.|
|Run around in circles||Make an effort for something that isn’t worthwhile.|
Idioms are rooted in the idea expressed by the actual words, but their meaning has come to be much broader than that. The more you listen to English speakers, the easier it will be to appreciate idioms.
In conclusion, the phrase “as you are aware” is a fairly common one that applies largely in more formal settings such as the workplace. People can take it literally to mean “as you know,” or they can take it idiomatically to imply that you should be aware of something.
When speaking more casually, especially among friends, we would more likely use “as you know.” This phrase is simpler and means exactly that. It also carries less chance of coming across as sarcastic or causing unintentional offense.