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The scenario is that the protagonist, Alice, had Alzheimer's and was running through by her doctor some cognitive tests, and one of which was Boston naming Exam. She failed to name a hammock. As her doctor noted that down, she wanted to argue.

Here's the long sentence I have trouble understanding.

Alice wanted to argue that her omission could just as easily have been a normal case of blocking as a symptom of Alzheimer's.

-cited from Still Alice

I know the author is saying that "failed to name a word could have been as easily mistaken as an Alzheimer's symptom"(or is she not?)

I can understand the sentence without words in bold, but altogether, I can't.

I found a similar sentence which makes more sense to me.

This could have just as easily happened to a catholic school as a public school.

cited from here

Please explain the first sentence construction for me. Thank you!

  • 1
    just as easily X as Y means that both X and Y are equally likely (in Alice's opinion). – Mick Oct 25 '16 at 7:26
  • @Mick Can I paraphrase the sentence into could have been just as easily a normal case of blocking[X] as a symptom of Alzheimer's[Y]? – Jasmine Kuo Oct 25 '16 at 8:28
  • It doesn't sound right to me. You need an expert's opinion. (But add your paraphrase to your question.) – Mick Oct 25 '16 at 8:31
1

The pattern

just as easily A as B

means both A and B are equally likely possibilities.

I could have just as easily walked to work as ridden a bike.

Your example's construction is

could just as easily have been a normal case of blocking as a symptom of Alzheimer's.

where each case in the parallel construction is

that her omission could have been a normal case of blocking
that her omission could have been a symptom of Alzheimer's

  • Can I paraphrase the sentence into could have been just as easily a normal case of blocking[A] as a symptom of Alzheimer's[B]? – Jasmine Kuo Dec 10 '16 at 9:45

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