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Such an excellent king, as superior to my uncle as a god is to a beast,

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You can generally count on the English professors who footnote Hamlet to get the grammar right. – StoneyB Mar 19 '14 at 1:43
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Excellent construction that is, and certainly not grammatically deficient.

As [adjective] as

The comparison is well taken. This is not common, but it sounds almost poetic. I say almost because it can be nicely used in almost any situation. Nice turn of phrase.

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+1 But it's not quite up to the original: "So excellent a king, that was to this / Hyperion to a satyr." – StoneyB Mar 19 '14 at 1:43
@StoneyB Maybe, but "as superior as" is more understandable I think. – D_Bester Mar 19 '14 at 1:45
@D_Bester: I disagree. Using "superior" in this way is clumsy and unnatural - probably mainly because we don't normally think in terms of some things being more or less superior than others. A simpler and more "understandable" way of putting it (which I'm sure is also far more common) would be to say "...as far above my uncle as a god is above a beast." – FumbleFingers Mar 19 '14 at 14:56
@FumbleFingers It may not be common but to my American ears it sounds good to say "as superior as". Not at all clumsy or unnatural. I don't know if it's an American versus British difference or whether it's simply an opinion difference, but I do think it's good to hear both opinions. – D_Bester Mar 19 '14 at 15:03
@D_Bester: I don't know if maybe there's some "irrelevant collocation" skewing things, but this NGram for is as superior to suggests using "superior" in such "comparative" contexts has massively fallen out of favour. I can't see any particular US/UK split when I check with different corpuses. – FumbleFingers Mar 19 '14 at 15:32

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