Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997 13:28:46 -0400


Subject: "is is" (formerly "as best as")

The recent thread on "as best as" reminds me of something pointed out to

me by my mother. She's been noticing, to her continual annoyance, that

seemingly respectable and well-educated TV newsfolk and politicians have

taken to saying "is" twice in some constructions, like:

"The problem is is there are too many sheepdogs on the board of directors."

This has the same intonation as -- and is presumbably an analogy from --

constructions like: "What the problem is is..."

Anybody heard this?

What the reason the "as best as" thing reminded me of this is is (whew)

that I suspect "as best as" is similarly based on analogy from "to do x as

best one can/could/etc." (without the second "as"). This sounds a bit

archaic to me and wasn't in my native dialect of NW PA, but I have heard

it often in other dialects. Much more common, of course, is the ""

comparative construction, and hence, presumably, the analogy.



On Thu, 17 Jul 1997, Duane Campbell wrote:

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 picky?