as sore as sore

< Previous | Next >

Droigheann

Member
Czech - Moravia
I know the structure "as ... as ...", eg "he's as tall as his father" etc. etc., but in GM Fenn's Devon Boys I came across the following:

“And the skin’s all off my heel,” I said; “and it’s as sore as sore, and so is one of my toes.”
Is this a contraction of "as sore as sore can/could be/get", and is it common to, kind of, compare an adjective with itself to emphasise its extremeness like this? I think I've come across this phenomenon before, but I can't remember where, so I'm not sure about it.
 
  • BLUEGLAZE

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I have never heard anyone use the expression and your interpretation sounds correct.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    It's a perfectly commonplace construction - an abbreviation for "as xxxx as xxxx could be" - and I'm surprised it's not more widely known. Probably found more among children than adults, because adults (having larger vocabularies) would find something more sophisticated to say.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'd never heard of GM Fenn who was an English Victorian educationist and children's story writer who died in 1913.
    I think it's simply old fashioned and presumably it's a child talking - it does sound childish as Dermott suggests. It's always useful to have some context! I don't think it's regional, but I am sure the full expression is "as ... as ... can/could be". It must be in a well known story or maybe song. It's sounds so familiar but a brain-rack isn't coming up with anything.
     

    Droigheann

    Member
    Czech - Moravia
    Thanks to everybody! I take it my analysis was correct but I should avoid using this structure myself so as not to sound quite weird to most native speakers.
    @Hermione Golightly: Just in case you're interested: it is said by a 17-year-old character after a long exhaustive walk, around the year 1755; the book was published in 1880, when Fenn himself was pushing on 50.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks for the interesting context, which fits with our impressions.
    I eventually recalled what the 'as ... as ... can be' reminded me of: the song sung by the canary Tweetie Pie in the Loony Tunes cartoon. He talks in a sort of baby way, "I tort I taw a puddy cat a-creepin up on me. I did ! I taw a puddy cat as plain as plain can be", except I had the words wrong. He says "as plain as he could be".:rolleyes:
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Hermione, I think we must have heard the same version as youngsters, because I also very clearly remembered "...as plain as plain can be".

    (Mind you, I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday - but that's my problem.)
     

    Droigheann

    Member
    Czech - Moravia
    And now you reminded me where I'd heard it before: there's an Irish song called "Seven Drunken Nights" where each stanza begins "As I came home on Monday (Tuesday, Wednesday &c) night, as drunk as drunk could be ..."
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top