Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 15:01:03 -0600


Subject: Re: As best as I can remember

Duane Campbell dcamp[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] asks:

Watching the Senate Finance Committee hearings just now (I don't have much

of a life), an attorney asked, "As best as you can remember . . ."

It seems to me that in the last few years this phrase has almost completely

replaced "as well as", even among well educated speakers. It grates on my

ears. Am I wrong to think that this is grammatically incorrect, that you

cannot compare a superlative? Is it language inflation? Or am I just being


That expression grates on my ears too (for an identifiable reason: a

particular person who uses it) -- and, yes, it is "illogical" or

"ungrammatical" if one expects traditional grammar to set the standard for

logic and grammar (matches the logic of the peson referred to above).

Recently I've been going through research and publications from the first

half of this century (1890s to 1950s) and have seen the expression often in

both correspondence and publications.