As Smart as a Whip?

This week I’m looking at “as-as” construction. We tend to mess this one up a lot because we often say a sentence with this structure incorrectly. When using as-as construction, you have to use as twice—before and after the adjective.

Wrong:

They were thick as thieves.
She’s smart as a whip.

Correct:

They were as thick as thieves.
She’s as smart as a whip.

One exception is: “He did as best he could.” As best is a traditional idiom (according to Bryan Gardner) that substitutes “as good as.”

Hopefully, though, you don’t use these clichés in your writing! And just how smart is a whip anyway?

3 Responses to “As Smart as a Whip?”

  1. Owen March 30, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    I saw your as-as item in my Google reader today, and I have linked to it in the text at the end of an article that I published in March 2011. I have used the URL of my article to post this comment. Thank you for your invaluable instruction for writers. Your “Live Write Thrive” is inspiring.

    • cslakin March 30, 2012 at 10:15 am #

      Thanks so much, Owen! I hope you have subscribed so you can get all the weekly posts!

  2. Wayne Tilden March 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    “… how smart is a whip, anyway?”
    Have you ever been whipped, that is struck with a whip? Now THAT smarts!

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