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Is it possible to say that "someone does something as he or she can" to express that he or she is doing it with full enthusiasm or is this just badly translated German?

Edit: Unusual language wouldn't be a problem in this case.

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2  
It doesn't sound foreign/stilted/unnatural, but there are more natural sounding variants like "as you are able" or "as best you can". –  Mitch Mar 27 '11 at 14:52
    
It's certainly possible. You can say anything you want to say, as long as you have no problem saying it! :) –  Jimi Oke Mar 27 '11 at 22:12

5 Answers 5

The usual form is: "Doing X as best he or she can."

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IMHO, English as best [s]he can implies effort rather than enthusiasm. There's also the suggestion that even with maximum effort, the task may not be completed satisfactorily, but that [s]he should not be blamed if this turns out to be the case. –  FumbleFingers Mar 27 '11 at 14:41
    
I agree. You have explicated the nuance of the expression quite nicely. –  The Raven Mar 28 '11 at 15:12

"As you can" is a legitimate phrase but it doesn't generally mean "with enthusiasm."

Please send me those reports as you can.

I do not know how pervasive this usage is, but its meaning is, "do this task when you are able" or "when you get some free time, do this task." You could reword it as, "when you can."

The more likely usage would be:

I eat healthy as I can.

This could be reworded as, "I do this whenever I can."

Other phrases that match the particular words "as I can" will be comparative:

I sleep as soundly as I can.

I exercise as often as I can

The last example again is meant to convey frequency, much like "I eat healthy as I can." I suspect that the latter example is a butchering of "as often as I can" and suggest explicitly using "as often."

I cannot think of a specific usage using "can" to suggest someone is doing a task with great enthusiasm. The other suggestions in the answers offer good alternatives with slightly different connotations. More typically, people will use a phrase such as what Hellion listed.

The short answer:

  • "As you can" does not imply enthusiasm.
  • "As you can" is a valid use
  • "As you can" is most likely to imply frequency or timing
  • "As you can" is typically used in the form "as [adverb] as you can"
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You could say that someone has:

set their mind to it, thrown themselves into it, or gone after it: given it their full focus and attention

put their back into it or given it their all: gone at it with their best efforts

done it as only he/she can: performed the task with a particular, identifiable style

gotten into it: displayed more and more interest/enthusiasm/obsession about the task as the work progressed

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Another common form is doing X as only he or she can. This changes the meaning of the phrase depending on the context, but usually implies with enthusiasm.

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You may also say "to do the best" - "he does his best" for an instance.

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