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e.g.: Elsa and Anna are as close as they have ever been.

Does it mean that they are as close as they used to be, or, they are closer than ever?

What about:

Elsa and Anna are as closest as they have ever been.

and

Elsa and Anna are as close as they have never been.

I'm getting more and more confused as I'm typing out these sentences. I think at least one of these is wrong usage.

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The only sentence that is correct is the first,

Elsa and Anna are as close as they have ever been.

It means that they have the same level of intimacy/friendship as at the best of times. It is used to indicate that this was not always the case, e.g. after a separation or an argument, or that in spite of circumstances, things are still good between them.

"Elsa and Anna are as closest as they have ever been." is grammatically incorrect. One can be as close as or closest, but not be as closest.

"Elsa and Anna are as close as they have never been" is perhaps (not correctly) stating that they have never been closer (that their friendship is better now than ever before.)

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The first sentence means that they have never been closer. The superlative of the adjective close is closest, but the second sentence is ungrammatical. The third doesn’t make sense.

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