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I've been reading through Imabi, and one of the notes on the site was about inappropriate use of として and にとって in contexts of contrast and although phrases. These three were listed as examples of misuse.

彼女は学生として、学校へ行かず、遊んでばかりいるよ。X
外国人として大変なのは食べ物だと思います。X
僕にとってその色はあんまり好きじゃない。X

I would like a clearer explanation on why these are not appropriate usages of として and にとって. I think I understand that in the first example, the phrasing is inappropriate because it sounds like she is using her position as a student to play around, which doesn't make any sense.

In the second sentence, I'm guessing にとって would be more appropriate because 外国人 isn't really a qualification? But at the same time you can say 私としては, so I'm not too sure why this is incorrect.

Third sentence: No clue why this is wrong.

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Your first sentence really doesn’t make much sense

女は学生として、学校へ行かず、遊んでばかりいるよ。

You’re saying,

Woman, as students, don’t go to school, they just play.

Even if it’s just a particular woman you’re thinking of, this still sounds odd whether in Japanese or English. If I heard you say this, I might get the impression that you really meant something more like

女は学生なのに、学校へ行かず、遊んでばからいるよ。

Your third sentence also comes off a bit weird.

僕にとってその色はあんまり好きじゃない。

According to me, I don’t like that color very much.

Even if you speak a bit less familiarly and say 私にとって it still would come across strange. You’re already apparently talking about your likes and dislikes. There’s no need to say “according to me”.

Perhaps if you were writing a short story in which you suffered from amnesia and were reading your old diaries you might say something like, “according to me i don’t really like this color. but, hey, I don’t really know because I’ve forgotten what I like and what I don’t like.“ But even in that case you’d probably more likely say

僕の日記によると、そのいろはあんまりすきじゃないらしい。

I don’t know what to say about the second sentence.

外国人として大変なのは食べ物だと思います。

I think as foreigners food is a terrible thing.

Doesn’t this sound strange to you in English.

Let’s just get rid of the と思います and consider the simpler sentence

外国人として大変なのは食べ物だ

As foreigners food is a terrible thing.

As absurd as it sounds, this almost comes across like you’re saying that food and foreigners are somehow the same thing. I seriously doubt that’s anything near what you had in mind. But can you hear that sort of weirdness in the sentence?

More likely you’re trying to express one of the following two ideas: (1) that foreigners have a hard time finding food (and, consequently go hungry a lot), or (2) that foreigners have a hard time adjusting to the tastes of new foods in new countries.

In either of these last two scenarios that’s not what you’re expressing.

I hope this shines some light on how your uses of にとって and として are a bit odd in these sentences.

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  • Thanks for the explanations. Sorry about the first sentence. 女 was a typo of 彼女, which i missed out in the copy paste—I fixed it just now. Also, I didn't come up with these examples myself, they were listed as inappropriate usage of those grammar patterns on IMABI, so I'm not exactly sure what the intended meanings were. If it isn't too much trouble, would you mind explaining whether phrase 私としては is an exception or if the noun before として does not necessarily have to be a role? – Shurim Oct 3 '20 at 3:07
  • @Shurim 私としては is contrastive. It essentially means “I for my part”. and it contrasts an opinion or habit or something that differs from was is customary or what someone else already expressed about themselves. – A.Ellett Oct 3 '20 at 3:16
  • Another thing, I thought にとって is more akin to 「の立場から」/ "from X's perspective" rather than "according to". I do agree that it would sound a bit unnatural if I said 「僕によるとその色はあまり好きじゃない」 though. – Shurim Oct 3 '20 at 3:18
  • @Shurim after i finished the answer i did realize that these weren’t exactly your personal sentences but ones you picked up from another web site. but i’m writing this on my phone and i won’t have internet access for my computer until next week. i hope you don’t mind this misattribution to you for these sentences and that you can forgive the delay in my ability to quickly and easily fix them. – A.Ellett Oct 3 '20 at 3:19

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