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Hi,

The at construction is rather more vivid and tends to conjure up a stronger image (and some language purists prefer it as being closer to the usage in physical senses) while the to construction follows the analogy of more abstract verbs such as intend and seek (which can often be used instead, sometimes to better effect).

Does "as being closer" mean "because it is closer"?

What is the part of speech of "as" here?

Thanks in advance
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Does "as being closer" mean "because it is closer"?-- Yes, or 'since it is closer'.

What is the part of speech of "as" here?-- I suppose an adverb, as in this definition (parenthetical words are my addition):

3. thought to be or considered to be: 'the square as (being) distinct from the rectangle'; 'the church as (being) separate from the state'.