Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 15:01:03 -0600
From: "Donald M. Lance" engdl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU
Subject: Re: As best as I can remember
Duane Campbell dcamp[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]epix.net 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.