Mary is as tall as Jane.

homotopy07

Senior Member
Japanese
Heres's an explanation from a grammar book for Japanese speakers:

(1) Mary is as tall as Jane.

(2) Mary is the same height as Jane.

#1 and #2 are identical in meaning. #1 does not imply that Jane is tall — #1 can be used even if Jane is short.

Question: Is this explanation correct?
 
  • homotopy07

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks, lingo and LaMercyArt.:)

    (3) Tom is as short as Bill.

    I think this sentence does imply that Bill is short. Am I right?
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    (3) Tom is as short as Bill.
    Normally, if I heard that sentence without context, I'd get the impression they were both shorter than average.

    On the face of it, yes, it just means they have the same "shortness", or rather that they are of the same height, and not that they are short. But if it's used to refer to men who aren't short, I can only imagine it in a specific context, for example to refer to two tall men, Tom and Bill, who're being compared with very tall men, and even that's unlikely.

    A: We need players who are at least 6'6''. Let's go with John, Jim and Dave. Who else?
    B: What about Bill?
    A: No, you know he's only 6'.
    B: Tom?
    A: Tom's as short as Bill. You know that.


    As I said, this seems a somewhat unlikely conversation. I'd expect A to say "Tom isn't any taller than Bill".
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree that it implies that they are both short.

    When we want to know someone's height, we invariably ask "How tall are you?" and that doesn't imply that we think they are especially tall.


    I don't think anyone would ask "How short are you?" unless there were special circumstances (e.g. implying Are you short enough to get into this tunnel?)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When we want to know someone's height, we invariably ask "How tall are you?" and that doesn't imply that we think they are especially tall.

    I don't think anyone would ask "How short are you?" unless there were special circumstances (e.g. implying Are you short enough to get into this tunnel?)
    :thumbsup:

    Yes, the point is that – other uses notwithstanding – short is intrinsically relative (shortness is “the quality of being relatively small in height or length”), whereas tall is the standard equivalent of high when described the height of people as opposed to things.
     
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