As far as I'm aware this expression means "(a persons) strong points', but I'm not sure how とする is being used in this context.

My best guess would be something like "the thing (a person) tries to do best" or something to that effect, but that doesn't really sound right, and I have previously read that the 'try to do' usage is only with volitional form verbs? Anyway I'm not very familiar with とする or ところ (I'm fairly beginner level) so I don't feel comfortable making a guess about it. Can anyone explain?

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    An example sentence which uses the expression is probably helpful. – Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 19 '12 at 17:33

I think the 得意とする is a formal/literary version of 得意にする or 得意にしている, which means "得意と見なす, 得意だと考える or 得意だと[位置]{いち}づける, consider ~~ as your strong point". I think the ~~とする means "~~と考える, ~~と見なす, to regard something as~~, to consider something as~~", "位置づける, to rank, to place(?)" or "~~だと[主張]{しゅちょう}する, to claim that something is~~."
The ところ is "[部分]{ぶぶん}, part", maybe "the part of you"... So あなたが(orの)得意とするところは何ですかorどこですか? would literally be like, "What is the part of you which you consider as your strong point?"

  • Hmm, I do not think that 得意とする means 得意だと思っている. For example, when talking about running, 終盤での追い上げはこの選手の得意とするところだ (I made up this example right now) means that this athlete is good at last-minute boost, not just he thinks that he is good at it. – Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 19 '12 at 17:41
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    Does it simply just mean "is good at", or is there some nuance to this use of とする? When I looked it up I thought it might mean "to regard/consider to be good at". I.E. What do you consider to be your strong points? or He is regarded as a strong athlete during the final stages. – Jeemusu Aug 20 '12 at 1:23
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    The phrase seems to be used idiomatically but I'd love to solve this question because I often struggle with とする/として. I wonder if it is is similar to として in 新企画は将来の利益につながるとして、実行に移された (The new plan was put into practice because it would lead to future benefits). The elements of this sentence could be used to make the expression: 将来の利益につながるとする新企画, which sounds similar usage discussed here. [The book this came from (Reading Jpse Newspapers) suggested "regarding~", "as", "by way of" as near English equivalents.] – Tim Aug 20 '12 at 2:45
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    広辞苑 states: ㊀〘自サ変〙⑥「~とする」「~と(に)して(は)」「~と(に)すれば」の形で、~~の立場・水準によって考える意を表す。「xが負数であるとする」← But this is talking about the する used as an intransitive, so I think the する used here might be →㊁〘他サ変〙④「~にする」「~とする」の形で、感ずる、見なす、考えるなどの意を表す。「吾はもや安見児得たり皆人の得がてにすとふ安見児得たり。」・・・「憂へなきを楽しみとす。」「失敗を後の戒めとする」「事件を問題にする」「人をばかにする」 – user1016 Aug 20 '12 at 6:41
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    Ah but 岩波国語辞典 states: ⑥《「に」「と」を受けて》㋐感ずる。思う。見なす。「人をばかにする」「お会いする日を楽しみにする」「清潔をむねとする」「人のせいにする」㋑~~(の用に)すえる。位置づける。「相手にする」「それを目的にする」・・・・Now I'm inclined to think that the する in 得意とする is more like 位置づける in the ㋑ (though I don't know how to improve my answer..) – user1016 Aug 20 '12 at 6:59

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