as unchanging a backdrop to the human drama as the [ as... as... ]

Kimmi G

Senior Member
Chinese
For most of history the composition of Earth’s atmosphere has been as unchanging a backdrop to the human drama as the arrangement of its continents, or the face of its Moon. (The Economist)

Guys, how to analyze the grammatical structure of this sentence?

Why not write it as "... the composition of Earth's atmosphere has been as unchanging as the arrangement of its continents, or the face of its Moon"?

What is the function of the part of "a backdrop to the human drama"?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You ruin the literary style by writing it in that prosaic way, not to mention removing a vital part of the description.

    as unchanging a backdrop to the human drama :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    as the arrangement of its continents or the face of its Moon.​
    as unchanging a backdrop to the human drama :thumbsdown::thumbsdown:
    as the arrangement of its continents or the face of its Moon.​

    The construction means the same as (but is much more elegant than):
    …a backdrop to the human drama that is as unchanging as…
     

    Kimmi G

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    You ruin the literary style by writing it in that prosaic way, not to mention removing a vital part of the description.

    as unchanging a backdrop to the human drama :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    as the arrangement of its continents or the face of its Moon.​
    as unchanging a backdrop to the human drama :thumbsdown::thumbsdown:
    as the arrangement of its continents or the face of its Moon.​

    The construction means the same as (but is much more elegant than):
    …a backdrop to the human drama that is as unchanging as…

    Thank you so much! This is technically the first time I met this elegant structure. 😅 Sorry for having butchered the refined style of the English language.
     
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