Is it grammatically correct to say "she is as plain as her mother is beautiful"?

I know that we use as + adjective/adverb + as to make comparisons when the things we are comparing are equal in some way. But can we use it to make comparisons between things which aren’t equal? If yes, are there any other examples?

  • Could anyone please explain a little bit more? – BeatsMe Apr 19 '18 at 4:47
  • to the degree that her mother is beautiful, she is the opposite, i.e. plain/ugly. speaking of which, I always find it odd that plain, rather than showing the lack of a quality of beauty or ugliness, is intended as ugly, but only when applied to a person (and then mostly towards women). i.e. when you say plain vanilla ice cream, you mean not very interesting, not outright bad-tasting. – Italian Philosopher Apr 19 '18 at 5:01

There is nothing ungrammatical about the sentence "She is as plain as her mother is beautiful." It's a vague expression, but the understood meaning is "She is quite plain, and her mother is quite beautiful."

A comparable expression is "X is as Y as the day is long". The Free Dictionary defines the meaning of this expression as follows:

Absolutely; to the utmost degree; as much as is possible. Usually an intensifier of an adjective, especially honest, happy, or some variation thereof. Ever since she proposed to me, I've been as happy as the day is long. He's as deceitful as the day is long.

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