In which situations cannot we use AS TO and ABOUT interchangeably?
When about is used to mean ‘regarding/ concerning’, it is interchangeable with ‘as to’. In this case, the only difference is that ‘as to’ is more formal:
- He came up with no explanation as to why he stole from his parents.
- He came up with no explanation about why he stole from his parents.
- They were uncertain as to which house to buy.
- They were uncertain about which house to buy.
However, the word ‘about’ has many other uses where ‘as to’ would not be correct. Here are some examples:
on the subject of something/ somebody
- Tell me about your job. (correct)
- Tell me about as to your job. (incorrect)
to describe the purpose of something
- Bob’s life is all about making money. (correct)
- Bob’s life is as to making money. (incorrect)
- She’s about forty years old. (correct)
- She’s as to forty years old. (incorrect)
in many directions, in various places
- My children’s toys are all about the house. (correct)
- My children’s toys are all as to the house. (incorrect)