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davidows

Joined: April 22, 2009  (email not validated)
Comments posted: 6
Votes received: 9

Recent Comments

BTW, goofy, I have no problem at all with the earliest example:

. . . blow 'em up as best suits our convenience —
Washington Irving, <i>Salmagundi </i>, 14 Aug. 1807

If blowin' 'em up is what best suits our convenience, then so be it, but to me, that's just not an example of the same awkward "misuse" of "as best".

I really don't care if "Bernstein specifically approves (sic) it" in 1977 or not. Even if Bernstein says, "It is perfectly proper to say, 'He did the job as best he could.'", he doesn't mention whether that means "he did the job as well as he could" or "he did the job, as only HE could do it best", with the emphasis on "he", making the claim that no one else could have done it better.

Dave April 23, 2009, 7:17pm

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porsche says:
I have to agree with the others. "…as best he can" is just an elided version of "…as best as he can", universally understood to mean doing something to the best of his abilities.

'Funny thing is', according to one of goofy's references, 'tis not elided, and the latter would universally be understood to be improper:

"You can try to be as good as you can be, but it's not standard to say that you do something “as best as you can.” You need to eliminate the second “as” when “good” changes to “best.” You can try to do something as best you can. You can also do the best that you can (or even better, the best you can).
Unlike asbestos removal, “as best as” removal is easy, and you don’t have to wear a hazmat suit. "

Dave April 23, 2009, 6:34pm

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I thank Gary for illustrating, better than I, why I consider it so awkward as to be ill conceived, if not useless, for the apparently intended meaning.

(corrected punctuation)

As Gary said, I hear it so often now that my flinching is less intense. Just don't expect me to like it or use it. That will never happen.

Dave April 23, 2009, 6:23pm

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"it’s meaning is clear", says goofy.

Really?! Well, I read the entire entry on p. 126, from the middle of the left column to the middle of the right column, and there was no attempt to define what it means, only examples of its use. Assuming facts not in evidence does not make them so.

IMHO, it is not clear, and nothing you might say will change that. As far as I'm concerned anyone who uses this awkward idiom is confused.

I thank Gary for illustrating, better than I, why I consider it so awkward as to be ill conceived, if not useless for the apparently intended meaning.

Dave April 23, 2009, 6:19pm

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Interestingly, most, if not all of the examples given could be interpreted either my way or the other way, although I suspect the intent was not to say what I am hearing, but it still grates on my nerves, and nothing anyone can say will change that.

Even trying as most I can ;-), I don't see that the article clears anything up.
s/b (IMHO)
Even trying as much as I can, I don't see that the article clears anything up.
or
Even trying as well as I can, I don't see that the article clears anything up.
or
Even trying as hard as I can, I don't see that the article clears anything up.
or
Even trying the best I can, I don't see that the article clears anything up.

Yes, it's an accepted idiom, but with which meaning? With at least a couple of less convoluted ways of saying this much more clearly, as illustrated above, why must we accept such an unclear, unnecessary muddling of the language?

Dave April 22, 2009, 1:14pm

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Finally!

Someone else who GETS it!!! "best" does NOT mean the same as "well", nor the same as "well as" when used in the phrase "as _____ he/she/it can", elided or not!

The only way that using the word "best" in this phrase could be correctly interpreted would be as in inverted manner of saying "as he/she/it can best".

If I were to say, "as he/she/it can better", the implied finish to that phrase would be "than I (can)", e.g. "Let Gary explain it to you, as he can better than I can".

If I felt that no one else could make the point any more clearly than Gary could, I might even say, "Let Gary explain it to you, as best he can.", in other words, "as Gary can, which is better than anyone else", which is to say, "as Gary can best (of all)".

It has nothing to do with Gary doing his best. If that were what I meant, I would ask Gary to do as WELL as he can.

Bottom line: in this usage "well as" and "best" are NOT synonymous!

Dave April 22, 2009, 12:29am

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