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He did as well as anyone could have done Options
maltliquor87
Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 1:11:01 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 11/29/2017
Posts: 18
Neurons: 36,158
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Hello!

Despite considering the sentence in the title to be counterintuitive, I easily understand what it means. It means that the person did remarkably well and that one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who could have done better.

But what happens when I make a few changes to the sentence so that it reads: "He did as well as everyone else could have done"? Does the altered sentence mean something very different? I think its meaning is the opposite of that of the original sentence. However, I'm not sure hence I'm asking you to help me.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 2:14:18 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 16,559
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You can't compare one person with everyone.
So you don't say that.
The changed sentence is wrong. It doesn't express the meaning you want.


You can compare one person with any other (one) person.

Or, if everybody else has done it, you can compare one result to the rest.
She did as well as everyone else [had done]. There 'yone' means everyone else who has completed this challenge. Real people.
But that is real, not hypothetical.

But you can't compare it to a hypothetical 'everyone else'. A hypothetical 'everyone' is the definition of 'anyone'! That is the correct word to use.
maltliquor87
Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 2:44:59 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 11/29/2017
Posts: 18
Neurons: 36,158
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Thanks Thar.

I understand what you mean.

Back to the original sentence. The original sentence implies that the person did very well. Here's one more example I've found: "Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday said the Trump administration is doing as well as anybody could". This is from http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/332501-condoleezza-rice-trump-team-doing-as-well-as-anybody-could-on-north

What if I want to convey a near-opposite meaning? For example, I want to say that the person's performance was so mediocre that literally anyone could have performed at least at the same level. Could I make just a few tweaks or do I need to restructure the sentence completely? I thought that those few changes would do the trick, but after your advice I have changed my mind.

By the way, that's how the original sentence in the title sounds if I take it literally: the person's performance was so ordinary that anyone could have performed at the same level. But this is not what it really means. That's why I described it as counterintuitive in my first post and that's what fascinates me.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 3:45:53 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 16,559
Neurons: 66,338
To make that an insult you would change the adverb.

She did no better than anyone could have done.

Or change the comparison
Anyone could have done as well as her.

Technically that covers the same ground - as well as is no better than - but now it implies that anybody could have done as well as her, or anyone could have done better than her. Some bloke off the street could do better.
She was mediocre.


An insulting compliment would be
She did no worse than anyone could have done.

Whistle
maltliquor87
Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 4:01:25 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 11/29/2017
Posts: 18
Neurons: 36,158
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Thanks. I have no further questions since your examples are just what I needed.

Quote:
Or change the comparison
Anyone could have done as well as her.


It's interesting that changing the order of comparison changes the initial meaning in this situation. Now that you've comprehensively answered my question, the picture is clear.
Evergreen
Posted: Thursday, February 15, 2018 7:42:05 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 10/28/2010
Posts: 32
Neurons: 1,474
I can make a mistake but it sounds better to say
He did as well as everyone would else have done.

Regarding the comparison character (color) : it depends on 3D : society, action, philosophy how to master deeds, and your own sympathy.
For example, if you like counting under a million and the word Vermilion, then you had better use it for a compliment.

Otherwise, if you use counting by an hour and the name Horacio, then the comparison might be read as a conclusion of a person's idleness leaving a chance to the deed. Then, we'll realize one of key points of a social history.

The choice is possible between a compliment/negation and a social history, and whichever else polarized facets of life on the paradigm desk "All over and Off".


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