as now as five years ago

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi.

Carol and I both know a man Vee. Vee's English is very good now; he teaches in an university. Carol told me he first knew Vee was 7 years ago while I have known Vee for only one and a half year. I was curious to know if 7 years ago Vee's English was also good like now. I asked Carol:

Was Vee's English good as now as five years ago?

Is the bold natural?
 
  • Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    No, I'm afraid not.
    You could ask: Seven years ago, was Vee's English as good as it is now?
    or: Was Vee's English seven years ago as good as it is now?

    I don't know why you switched to five years in your question.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Thanks a lot, LH and Little Ripper.

    I forgot this question so it's a bit late for the reply.

    Five years ago was my original question because Carol and Vee were talking about this last time when we three met. But yesterday, Carol told me it should be 7 years ago.

    Anyway, thank you so much!
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Was Vee's English good as now as five years ago?
    :cross:
    You have an 'as' in the wrong position:
    1. Was Vee's English as good now as five years ago? (informal/colloquial, perhaps substandard)
    Which is a shortened version of the normal
    2. Was Vee's English as good now as it was five years ago?

    The main difficulty of 1. is (a) "good" is taken as the original because it is an adjective, whereas 'now' is an adverb, and (b) 'good' is a measure of quality and its comparator "five years ago" is a point in the past, so it sounds awkward.

    Is the watch as expensive as [it was] five years ago?

    When I was in Hong Kong, a beer cost me 50 dollars
    That is expensive!
    It is not as expensive as 5 years ago/when I was last there, etc. :thumbsup:

    The adjectival version:
    When he ran, was John as fast as David/a horse/he could be?
    Was <original> as <adjective> as <comparator [is]>
    The original and the comparator must be a substantive that is linked in some way to the adjective.

    The adverbial version:
    Did he run as quickly as a horse [runs]
    Did he <verb> as <adverb> as <comparator [verb]>
    The original’s verb and the comparator’s verb must be the same.
     
    Last edited:

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    1. Was Vee's English as good now as five years ago? (informal/colloquial, perhaps substandard)
    Which is a shortened version of the normal
    2. Was Vee's English as good now as it was five years ago?
    You seem to have inadvertently switched "now" and "five years ago". Remember, Vee's English is good now and the point of the question is to establish whether it was as good five years ago. Therefore:
    Was Vee's English as good five years ago as (it is) now?
    Or LH's versions in #2.
     
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