I came across this sentence in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini:

As happy as she was about this pregnancy, his expectation weighed on her.

I was trying to parse this sentence and was trying to understand the meaning. I checked The Cambridge Grammar of The English Language (CaGEL) for any possible explanation, but of no help. I didn't find anything similar there. The possible meaning I derived from it is: She was happy about this pregnancy by X amount, his expectation weighted on her by X amount.

Question 1: Is my understanding about the meaning correct? And what is the possible explanation about the sentence structure? Any reference to CaGEL?

I then turned to COCA for similar sentences. But I got more confused. The sentences that made me confused are:

As good as this burger tasted, he should have ordered two. [I think this sentence is semantically different to the sentence I found in the book. I think this sentence means Because this burger tasted so goof, he should have ordered two.]

As good as the food is, it would be even better if the menu were scaled back so Silargorn could concentrate on the dishes that set him apart. [And I think this is semantically different to the other two. I think it means Because the food is very good, it would be even better if ...]

Question 2: What is meaning of the two sentences from COCA? And can you please parse these sentences? And reference from CaGEL?

  • 1
    No, you haven't got the right meaning. Effectively, it's Although she was [very] happy about this pregnancy, [nevertheless,] his expectation weighted on her. The sense of the juxtaposition is that it's contextually assumed the two assertions (1: She's glad to be pregnant, and 2: She's worried about what he expects) are to some extent "conflicting", with the further implication that even though she's very glad, this isn't enough to dispel her concerns. But it's not really about both assertions being somehow to the same extent. – FumbleFingers May 15 '19 at 16:04
  • 1
    Are you sure that the word in the sentence is weighted rather than weighed? Because you also write tasted so goof in another quote, which seems like an obvious typo of good. – Jason Bassford May 15 '19 at 16:05
  • 1
    Don't confuse this construction with the truly "equatable, to the same degree" sense in, for example, As you reap, so shall you sow. – FumbleFingers May 15 '19 at 16:08
  • 1
    It's a comparative construction. In "As happy as she was about this pregnancy", the first "as" is an adverb modifying "happy" and the second a preposition introducing the comparative clause "she was about this pregnancy". Thus the two as's are in construction together. – BillJ May 15 '19 at 16:10
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers Or given how good this burger tasted, he should have ordered two. – Jason Bassford May 15 '19 at 16:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.