Sentence structure

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bbman2007

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One might as well not know the thing at all as know it imperfectly.
Why are there two main verbs in this sentence?
I wonder if this sentence is composed of two clauses and the second 'as' is used to link them together. One is 'one might as well not know the thing at all'. Another one is 'one might know it imperfectly'. Correct me if I am wrong and give me an explanation.
 
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corum

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One might as well not know the thing at all as know it imperfectly.
Why are there two main verbs in this sentence?

This idiom crossed my mind upon first reading:
http://tinyurl.com/39ujkx3

We have a 'may as well':
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/might+as+well
there is no reason you should not do something

1. You might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb.
2. One might as well not know the thing at all as know it imperfectly.

#1 is said to mean that because the punishment for a bad action and an even worse one will be the same, you have no reason not to do the worse one

By analogy with #1, #2 should mean what?
#2 means if you do not aim for learning something thoroughly, it is better not to bother to crack a book at all, as your teacher will kick your a.s anyway.


I wonder if this sentence is composed of two clauses and the second 'as' is used to link them together. One is 'one might as well not know the thing at all'. Another one is 'one might know it imperfectly'. Correct me if I am wrong and give me an explanation.

I think we have a coordinating conjunction,

http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/as_2

, which links two verb phrases together: not know the thing at all and know it imperfectly.

The coordinator (two words) in bold:
One might as well not know the thing at all as know it imperfectly.

The conjoins in bold:
One might as well not know the thing at all as know it imperfectly.
 

Frank Antonson

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Don't you mean a correlative conjunction, Corum?
 

corum

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Don't you mean a correlative conjunction, Corum?

as ... as is not a coordinating conjunction. I do not know why I wrote that. Yes, correlative. :up:

Do you agree with the rest of what I wrote?:
 

Frank Antonson

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It's a tricky sentence. I will have to think about it. "As...as" is modifying "well", which is modifying the hielping verb "might" which is shared by the two main verbs. Let me see if I can diagram it.

knowthing.gif
 

Frank Antonson

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Not real sure about this. Any suggestions?
 

corum

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You missed 'at all'. ;-) Otherwise the same as yours.
 

Frank Antonson

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Cool! We agree. I was not too sure about that. I think I am getting rusty.
 
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