They are "as much" at ease doing this as Americans

nosaijin

Senior Member
Chinese (Traditional)
Hello!

I saw this question in a reading exam:

They touch each other more often. They are ____ at ease doing this as Americans with more spaces between them.

Options: (A) as (B) as much (C) as well (D) so

The key is (B) as much, and I can't see why (A) as is not possible.

If I'm happy to help the poor and so are you, then "I am as happy to help the poor as you are" sounds fine to my ears.

"I am as much happy to help the poor as you are", probably okay but I'm not really sure. Is this a fixed expression?

I'd be grateful if you can also tell me what the latter sentence of the question really means.

Does it mean Americans can do this as well, but Americans will do this with more spaces between them?
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    You're right, "I am as happy to help the poor as you are" sounds fine. But happy is a simple adjective, and at ease isn't. (I think it's an adverbial phrase). At any rate, "as at ease" sounds simply wrong to this native ear.
     

    nosaijin

    Senior Member
    Chinese (Traditional)
    At any rate, "as at ease" sounds simply wrong to this native ear.
    Thank you, Keith Bradford. Would "as much at ease" sounds better to you?
    If yes, could you please tell me what the whole sentence "They are as much at ease doing this as Americans with more spaces between them" means?
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The two sentences don't actually make sense together. If we have a sentence that does, we can see that three answers could be correct; I am deliberately ignoring the first sentence.

    1.They are as at ease doing this as Americans are doing something different.
    2. They are as much at ease doing this as Americans are doing something different.
    3. They are as well at ease doing this as Americans are doing something different.
    4. They are so at ease doing this as Americans are doing something different. :cross:

    I don't recommend 3 because it is a relatively uncommon use of "well", and I think, with Keith, that 2 is preferable to 1.
     

    nosaijin

    Senior Member
    Chinese (Traditional)
    and I think, with Keith, that 2 is preferable to 1.
    Thank you, Andygc. I wonder if you share Keith's opinion for the reason he mentioned above?
    And, if the two sentences make no sense together, what do they most likely to mean, according to your understanding?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm sorry, but the second sentence "They are ... at ease ..." makes no sense, so I cannot say what it means. "They touch each other more often" has no error, but begs the question "more often than what?"
     

    nosaijin

    Senior Member
    Chinese (Traditional)
    I'm sorry, but the second sentence "They are ... at ease ..." makes no sense, so I cannot say what it means. "They touch each other more often" has no error, but begs the question "more often than what?"
    Sorry I chose not to put the whole article on since it's a bit long.
    They touch each other more often "than Americans do", based on the context. Would that help?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Among the many problems, "touching each other" is an action, but it's being compared to "more spaces between them" which is not. If the verb is left out, you re-use the previous verb so perhaps Americans are at ease with touching more spaces between Italians. ;):eek::confused:
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I get what the second sentence is saying. I agree that the correct answer is "as much as." But the whole of that second sentence does not actually quite make sense. Did you transcribe it accurately? The sentence would make more sense with the addition of "are", to make it "as Americans are with more space between them" (not spaces).

    If this sentence is totally accurate to the reading exam, hmmmm.
     

    nosaijin

    Senior Member
    Chinese (Traditional)
    Did you transcribe it accurately? The sentence would make more sense with the addition of "are", to make it "as Americans are with more space between them" (not spaces).
    Man, you're right. Yes, the original sentence was like yours. I made big mistakes! Thank you for pointing that out.
    If you'd like, could you please explain to this ordinary learner why the answer is "as much...as...", but not "as...as..."?
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hmmm. I find "as much at ease" easier to pronounce than "as at ease." I don't think as at ease is necessarily wrong. It wouldnt jump out at me as wrong if I saw it in print. But I think I would say "as much at ease" because it has a rthym to it. This isn't very helpful, I know. I personally would not put "as at ease" on a multiple choice test like this because I don't think it is clearly and obviously wrong.
     

    nosaijin

    Senior Member
    Chinese (Traditional)
    This isn't very helpful, I know.
    Sorry for the late reply. Didn't feel well and was in bed almost all day.
    Your responses are definitely helpful, Ponyprof. I know some questions can be difficult to explain, and I believe mine is one of them.
    Anyway, I appreciate your interest and help very much.
     
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