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My colleague had a bit of an accident on his way to work and got himself injured. So I took out the first aid kit and patched him up as best I could.

Mike really wanted to make her birthday special and he went all out for the party. He baked the cake, prepared the food and drinks and decorated the room as best he could.

In these two examples, am I using the highlighted phrases correctly?

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  • Yes, if you mean to suggest that Mike's party decorations were not all that brilliant, although he had done his best. – Kate Bunting Feb 15 at 12:44
  • @KateBunting The question here is whether we can use words categorized in superlative degree in positive degrees. 'well, soon, much' as in 'as well as, as soon as, as much as' are positive degree usages. Can we say as best as (well-better-best)? If so, what about as better as? Or say, as soonest as (soon-sooner-soonest)? If so, why not as sooner as? – Ram Pillai Feb 16 at 1:28
  • @RamPillai - As best I can is certainly an idiomatic phrase (and its variants using other pronouns and/or the past tense). ldoceonline.com/dictionary/as-best-you-can – Kate Bunting Feb 16 at 8:54
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It's better if you say: "My colleague had a bit of an accident on his way to work and got himself injured. So I took out the first aid kit and patched him up as well as I could."

or as in your second sentence: "Mike really wanted to make her birthday special and he went all out for the party. He baked the cake, prepared the food and drinks, and decorated the room as well as he could"

Adding that the is a possibility of including "doing my best" instead of both terms.

To answer a question that may arise, as to why these two phrases may be better than the one you used, is due to the opinion that "as best I could" has become a redundant phrase, or in a better-described manner, it has become superfluous.

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