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I have two questions regarding the ''as ~ as" comparison structure.

  1. She has as much confidence as anybody I have ever known.

Does this mean A or B? Is this a grammatically correct sentence?

A. She has more confidence than anybody I have ever known. B. She has the same level of confidence as anybody I have ever known.

  1. She is as confident as ever.

Does it mean A or B? Is this grammatically correct?

A. She is more confident than ever. B. She is as confident as usual.

Thanks for your help!!

  • I have always thought as much as = equal or approximate – Magesh Kumaar Aug 9 '16 at 5:56
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    It means "She is at least as confident as the most confident person other than her that I have ever known." – Sven Yargs Aug 9 '16 at 5:57
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    It means exactly what it says. – ell Jan 31 '18 at 23:03
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In Mathematics, and therefore in Logic, and therefore applicable to Linguistics, are the constraints

  • open-ended, upper threshold
  • open-ended, lower threshold
  • closed-ended. which is dual threshold.

  1. Open-ended lower threshold: She is as beautiful as Princess Kate.

    She is just as beautiful as Princess Kate, if not more.

  2. Open-ended upper threshold: She is no more beautiful than Princess Diana.

    We don't know if she is beautiful or ugly, but if she is beautiful, she is at most just as beautiful as Princess Diana but no more beautiful.

  3. Closed the ends with dual thresholds: She is as beautiful as Princess Kate but no more beautiful than Princess Diana. Princess Diana was leaps and bounds more beautiful than Princess Kate.

    She is at least equal to Princess Kate in beauty, if not more beautiful. We don't know if she is more beautiful than Princess Kate. But if she is more beautiful than Princess Kate, she would at most equal in beauty to Princess Diana, but no more beautiful than Princess Diana.

  • Open-ended lower threshold: She is as beautiful as any woman I have ever seen.

    I am not sure if I have ever had the privilege to have seen the most beautiful woman in the world. Regardless, she is at least equal in beauty to the most beautiful of all the women I have seen, if not more beautiful.

  • Open-ended lower threshold: She has as much confidence as anybody I have ever known.

  • Blessed geek, wow, thanks for your linguistic inputs!! It really helped me understand the comparison structure better. By the way, i think Kate is as beautiful as Diana. Haha. – Waldo Aug 9 '16 at 6:46
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  1. Interpret the sentence this way: "she has as much confidence as the most confident person I have ever known." When you consider it that way, it means she is a very confident person; that she is of far above average confidence. So now you figure out if that means A or B.

  2. Does any interpretation of this sentence imply that she is more confident? If so, then A. Otherwise, B.

  • Thanks for the details, John. I'm surprised that "She is as confident as ever" can sometimes mean "She is as confident as usual." Good to know. – Waldo Aug 9 '16 at 6:44
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More broadly, your question concerns the following concepts in mathematics: greater than, greater than or equal to, less than, less than or equal to.

Your sentence corresponds to greater than or equal to:

Her confidence is greater than or equal to the confidence of anyone you have ever known.

Note that your sentence embodies a relative comparison having nothing to do with an absolute degree of confidence. All those you know may be lacking in confidence; that she's as confident or more confident than they are does not mean, logically, that she has a high degree of confidence.

For some basic information on inequalities, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inequality_(mathematics)

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