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  1. #1
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Strong as he is (meanings)

    The (as) adjective + as + subject + be pattern confuses me sometimes. Are the pairs below correct and equivalent in meaning?

    1a Strong as he is, he can't lift it.
    1b He can't lift it despite his strength.

    2a Strong as he is, he can lift it.
    2b He can lift it due to his strength.

    3a Strong as he is, no one can beat him.
    3b No one can beat him because of his strength.

    4a Strong as he is, he should train every day.
    4b No matter how strong he is, he should train every day.

    (All examples are mine.)
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  2. #2
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: Strong as he is (meanings)

    None of them seem natural to me. Perhaps:

    Although he is very strong, he can't lift it.
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  3. #3
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Strong as he is (meanings)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Although he is very strong, he can't lift it.
    What's the difference between although he is very strong, despite the fact he is very strong and despite his strength?
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    Re: Strong as he is (meanings)

    All right, here's my view on this:

    1a and 1b are fine. Yes, they're equivalent in meaning.

    2a and 3a are not good. The (as) adjective + as + subject + be pattern is used primarily when the following clause is contrastive, as it is in 1a. For that reason, they don't work.

    4a ought to be Strong though he is ...

  5. #5
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: Strong as he is (meanings)

    Jutfrank is smarter than me,
    But we don't always agree.
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  6. #6
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Strong as he is (meanings)

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    All right, here's my view on this:

    2a and 3a are not good. The (as) adjective + as + subject + be pattern is used primarily when the following clause is contrastive, as it is in 1a.
    Would 2a work if I compared two different people?

    Strong as he is, he can lift it -> Strong as John is, Bill can lift it easily.

    I've also found this example: As smart as she is, she is equally funny. (Huffington Post) Is it correct? I see no contrast here.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  7. #7
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: Strong as he is (meanings)

    As smart as she is, she is also funny.

    That means the same thing as:

    She is very smart, and she is also very funny.

    (Note that jutfrank used the word primarily.)

    The other one makes no sense to me.
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  8. #8
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    Phaedrus is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Strong as he is (meanings)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Would 2a work if I compared two different people?

    Strong as he is, he can lift it -> Strong as John is, Bill can lift it easily.

    I've also found this example: As smart as she is, she is equally funny. (Huffington Post) Is it correct? I see no contrast here.
    I see no reason to strike out or find fault with Strong as he is, he can lift it, which sounds natural to me, as does Strong as he is, he can't lift it.

    Quirk et al. (A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, 1985) say as-clauses with fronting can be concessive/contrastive or circumstantial.

    Their example of the concessive/contrastive variety is "Naked as I was, I braved the storm. ['Even though I was naked, . . .']" (Section 15.39, p. 1098).

    Their example of the circumstantial variety is Tired as they were, they went to bed as soon as they came back" (Section 15.47, p. 1107).

    The former example parallels the semantic relationships in Alexey's (1a) and (4a); the latter parallels the semantic relationships in his (2a) and (3a).

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    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Strong as he is (meanings)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    The (as) adjective + as + subject + be pattern confuses me sometimes.
    NOT A TEACHER

    Alexey, here is what one of my favorite grammar books says: "Sick as he is, he will want to go with you" is a shorter way to say "Though he be sick as he is, he will want to go with you."

    Source: House and Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (1931, 1950), page 415.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 16-Oct-2020 at 14:56.

  10. #10
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    Re: Strong as he is (meanings)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Would 2a work if I compared two different people?

    Strong as John is, Bill can lift it easily.
    No, that doesn't make sense. You'd need to preface the sentence with Being to have any chance of being understood. But anyway, don't.

    I've also found this example: As smart as she is, she is equally funny. (Huffington Post) Is it correct? I see no contrast here.
    Yes, there's no contrast there. That's a very unusual use of the pattern, but I can't say it's incorrect.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "Sick as he is, he will want to go with you"
    Yes, that's a decent example, as it shows the contrast nice and clearly. Still, I'd prefer it with though in place of as.

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