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as best as???

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as best as???

Postby Ki » Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:24 pm

When did the expression "as best as (I can)" or "as best (I can)" begin to take hold? It still strikes me as incorrect since "as well as (I can)" connotes a comparison while "the best I(I can)" indicates a superlative.
Is anyone else noticing this change?
Ki
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Postby Andrew Dalby » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:22 am

I've just looked in the Oxford English Dictionary and found examples of 'as best' going back to about 1350, but the earliest examples all have 'such' in the sentence ('such behaviour as best befits a man', that kind of thing) which is not the same perhaps. From the 1800s onwards there are lots of examples of 'as best' in exactly the sense you mean.

In 75 examples I saw not a single one for 'as best as'. I have never heard this myself -- maybe it's US only?

I'm trying to think if I can feel a difference between 'as best I can' and 'as well as I can'. The answer is, I can't. Maybe someone else can ...
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Re: as best as???

Postby anders » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:33 am

Ki wrote:When did the expression "as best as (I can)" or "as best (I can)" begin to take hold? It still strikes me as incorrect since "as well as (I can)" connotes a comparison while "the best I(I can)" indicates a superlative.
Is anyone else noticing this change?

Throwing in my two (euro)cents, despite us not using that currency (yet), I really like the look and feel of "as best as (I can)". I'm at a loss to find a sufficiently similar idiom in Swedish, but, anyway, the distinction comparative-superlative is not on a global scale a God given thing (and I'm an atheist).
Irren ist männlich
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