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Here is the question I'm asking about, taken from Grammar and Vocabulary for CAE and CPE by Richard Side and Guy Wellman (question 1e, p. 16):

Given this sentence:

Michael Owen is the best player I've seen so far in this competition.

Finish the following sentence in such a way that it is similar in meaning to the one above.

I've yet …

The answer given (p. 257) for the gap is:

to see as (or: such a) good a player as Michael Owen in this competition.

The answer looks really strange for me since I have been studying English for three years now and I've never heard or read such a construction. Is there an error in the paper? Is this a possible answer:

I've yet to see as good player as Michael Owen in this competition.

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  • Who is you book written and published by? The suggested answers are incompatible. Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 11:39
  • Oh, i forgot to enclose a possible link: slideshare.net/blancabetty29/… Question: Page 16 / Answer: Page 257 Pearson Edu / www.longman-elt.com
    – FrankMK
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 11:45
  • Richard Side & Guy Wellman
    – FrankMK
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 11:46
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    "I've yet to see..." is idiomatic. Nothing wrong.
    – Centaurus
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 11:49
  • 2
    @Araucaria Yes, I noticed the missing "a".
    – Centaurus
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 11:51

3 Answers 3

3

I haven't met him yet.

We can construct a sentence with a similar meaning to the one above using a "yet-to" type construction:

  • I have yet to meet him.

Here the word yet follows the auxiliary verb and is followed by a to-infinitival clause. However, the biggest difference between this construction and the original sentence is that this original uses a negative clause, whereas the yet-to construction uses a positive one. The flavour of the sentence is something like: I haven't met him and my meeting him is going to happen in the future, - if it ever happens at all.

Notice that the sentence in the exercise is:

  • Michael Owen is the best player I've seen so far in this competition.

We might expect that to get an equivalent meaning we could write:

  • I've yet to see a better player than Michael Owen in this competition.

However, this sentence does not mean the same thing as the Original. The reason is that the sentence above could be true if you had seen many players who were as good as Micheal Owen, but none that were better. In the original example, this is ruled out because Michael is the best. Because the new sentence has a negative meaning we need to say that I haven't seen one who was even as good as Michael Owen. Notice that adjective phrases modified by as occur before the whole noun phrase, not directly before the noun:

  • as good a meal.
  • *an as good meal. (ungrammatical)

So here we need:

  • I've yet to see as good a player as Michael Owen in this competition.

Alternatively, we could use the adverb such instead of the adverb as. Notice that such modifies whole noun phrases. It doesn't modify adjectives:

  • such a good meal
  • *a such good meal (ungrammatical)

If we use such the sentence will be like this:

  • I've yet to see such a good player as Michael Owen in this competition.
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  • I don't understand why writing "better" would not work. In the Original sentence, the speaker says Owen is the best *....I've seen so far... * which means there might be the possibility of watching a better player and therefore, the best player in the entire competition.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 14:07
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    @Mari-LouA Because the original say that Owen is the best seen so far. That is, all the others have been specifically below him in level; none have been equal to him, and none above. In “I’ve yet to see a better player”, you’re only saying you haven’t seen any better players, but you’re not saying anything about whether you’ve seen anyone as good as him—you may have seen several players that were as good as Owen, just none that were better. That’s not an option in the original sentence, hence the two sentences saying (slightly) different things. Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 16:48
  • @JanusBahsJacquet but if I haven't seen a better footballer playing, it implies that Owen (in my opinion) is the best player and everyone else is inferior (no one is better). "I've not yet seen a better player in this competition" ergo up to this point in time, at this stage of the competition, he is the best I have witnessed.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 17:15
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    @Mari-Lou No, not necessarily. ‘Not better’ doesn’t mean ‘inferior’; it means ‘equal or inferior’. If you’ve seen another player who is exactly as good as Owen, but none who are better, then “I’ve yet to see a better player than Owen” is true, but “Owen is the best player I’ve seen” isn’t, because “the best player” does imply that everyone else is inferior. Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 17:23
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    I find it amusing that if I have not seen as good a player as Michael Owen in the competition, then according to strict logic either I have not seen Michael Owen yet (contradicting the original sentence, which implies that I have seen him), or Michael Owen is not as good as himself. The reason we can get away with such phrasing is that English speech and writing are not always strictly logical. (The use of "better" rather than "as good" seems to me also to be permitted by the ambiguity of the English language--eliminating the "not as good as himself" error while introducing another.)
    – David K
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 21:03
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Yes, there is an error in the book.

If you look at the answer key to question 5b, which is of a similar structure, it gives the following:

to see as extraordinary a goal / such an extraordinary goal as Bergkamp’s

This is the correct way to write it, making it clear that “as extraordinary a goal” and “such an extraordinary goal” are alternatives that can be used in place of one another.

The answer key to the question you’re asking about here is very unclearly written, making it seem like you can either say “as good a player as Michael Owen” or “such a good a player as Michael Owen”, which is not the case.

“Such a good a player” is indeed ungrammatical. There should only be one indefinite article. The answer key should have been:

to see as good a player / such a good player as Michael Owen

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  • 1
    It might be worth pointing out that the alternative word order "a player as good as Michael Owen" would also be correct, and possible more familiar to the OP's ear. Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 6:01
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"have yet to" (do something)

Instead of saying that "you haven't seen a better player yet", you say "I've yet to see a better player". Such a construction is often used when you want to express that you don't expect something to happen.

have yet to (do something) = to have not yet (done something)

  • I've yet to find a better place to live.
  • I've yet to hear Fred say something that might help.
  • I've yet to meet someone I can really trust.
  • I've yet to find an honest politician.

"as good a (noun) as" = "such a good (noun) as"

  • I've yet to see as good a place as Buffalo, N.Y.
  • I've yet to see as good an essay as yours.
  • I've yet to see as good a player as Jim.
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  • Ok, so I need to to take it without understanding in that case ? Thanks
    – FrankMK
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 12:02
  • So, the correct answers would be: I've yet to see such a good player as Michael Owen in this compition. & I've yet to see as good player as Michael Owen in this compition.
    – FrankMK
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 12:08
  • @FrankMK Yes, or: I've yet to see as good a player as Michael Owen in this competition. Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 12:10
  • So the fact is, that there is missing an "a" in the given Key answer, right ?
    – FrankMK
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 12:13
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    Fighting for that point, hahahahaha :-)
    – FrankMK
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 12:16

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