How to Use as … as to Make Comparisons
by Owen Fourie
Concerning the use of as … as, you will find this in comparisons such as:
- As free as a bird.
- As alike as two peas in a pod.
- As flat as a pancake.
Are birds free? Observe them in nature. Yes. They come and go and do as they please according to their nature, without restriction.
The saying “as free as bird” is applied in situations where you are describing something that has a similar freedom.
At last, I was on vacation, and I felt as free as a bird.
Can you tell the difference between two peas in a pod? Perhaps, if you are really picky, but it is generally accepted that they are alike.
When the Olsen twins were younger, some people were able to identify each one correctly, but to me they were as alike as two peas in a pod.
Are pancakes flat? Yes, absolutely!
A sudden gust of wind took my new hat and left it in the path of an oncoming car. Look at it! It is as flat as a pancake.
Some sayings, such as “as blind as a bat,” are not scientifically correct.
In this structure, the first as functions as an adverb modifying the adjective that follows it. The second as is a preposition followed by its object:
As [adverb] free [adjective] as [preposition] a bird [noun, object of the preposition].
Another use of as … as
Consider the following sentences:
- When I heard that she had been injured, I ran as quickly as I could to be with her.
- They needed to gain some weight, so we let them eat as much as they could.
- This is as exciting as I had imagined.
The first sentence is describing a situation in which your concern about the injured person is so great that you feel it is necessary to push your limits to be with her without delay.
The second sentence perhaps refers to some chickens that are being fattened, and no restriction is being placed on their diet. (In the second sentence and the previous one, the first as is followed by an adverb, not an adjective as in the earlier examples and the next one.)
In the third sentence you had imagined a situation that is working out to the degree that you had pictured in your mind.
The second as in these examples serves as a conjunction.
Are there particular sayings using as … as that you do not understand? If so, let me know in a comment below. Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.
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