In a blog post about web development, I found an interesting phrase:

As awesome as CSS counters are, don’t forget about our old friends ol and li.

From the context, it seems to mean "Although/despite [one Web technology feature] is awesome, don't forget about [other Web technology feature]". But I have never seen "as ... as" in this meaning. What is the correct meaning of this phrase and what kind of "as ... as" usage is this?

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    "As silent as a cat" is attributing the quality of silence to the high degree which cats enjoy is; "As silent as a cat is, ..." with the copula and comma, is about to introduce a big old but. – Dan Bron Nov 15 '14 at 20:11

This construction is recent, and is a modification of the more traditional construction

Awesome as CSS counters are, ...

which is a somewhat literary form meaning

However awesome CSS counters are, ...

I believe (but I have not researched the matter) that the construction arose by confusion with the different construction

(Something is) as awesome as CSS counters.

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Think of 'He is as rich as a king', 'The water is as deep as an ocean' etc.

Now, it is not a big step to 'As rich as this man is, he has an unhappy life', 'As deep as the water is, I can still see the bottom'.

And another step gets you to 'As awesome as CSS counters are, don't forget...'.

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  • Could you please explain a bit the second step? What is the rule of this kind of "as ... as" usage, and where can I read more about this? – Ilya Streltsyn Nov 15 '14 at 20:30
  • @Ilya Streltsyn I suppose there are words which are elided '(Although I am) as tall as I am, I cannot reach the top shelf'. Alas, I cannot advise on rules etc, because I am a native speaker and just know it instinctively. – WS2 Nov 15 '14 at 21:54

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