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Example:

He had to choose a dancing partner. He was as nervous to pick one as they were of being picked.

Is is a common construction? Google gave me zero results. And it sounds a bit strange to me. But I'm not very sure since I'm not a native English speaker. (Maybe there's a better alternative?)

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    He [the man] was as nervous to pick one [a woman to dance with] as they [the women] were of being picked [by the man].
    – Mick
    Nov 16, 2016 at 9:58
  • It's a common construction. A little poetic, as there's no reason to assume the levels of nervousness are identical, but certainly often used when two parties are experiencing the same feeling. Otherwise you would just say: >He had to choose a dancing partner. He was nervous to do so, and they were nervous of being picked.
    – Tom B
    Nov 16, 2016 at 10:41
  • I think of is not necessary in your sentence. You can write as: He had to choose a dancing partner. He was as nervous to pick one as they were being picked.
    – yubraj
    Nov 16, 2016 at 12:44
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    @yubrajsharma sorry, actually the "of" is absolutely necessary, otherwise it completely changes the meaning. "As they were being picked" means "as they were in the process of being picked" and doesn't properly refer back to the action of the sentence "to be nervous".
    – Andrew
    Nov 16, 2016 at 14:33
  • Yeah I got it, I'm gonna edit my Answer
    – yubraj
    Nov 16, 2016 at 14:35

1 Answer 1

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We use as+adjective/adverb+as to make comparisions when the things we are comparing are equal in some ways.

For an example:

The weather in this summer is as bad as last year

(The weather is equally bad in this summer as it it was last year)

Source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/as-and-as-expressions/as-as

Your sentence:

He had to choose a dancing partner. He was as nervous to pick one as they were of being picked.

You are here comparing between he(man) and they(women). Here, Both the man and women are nervous. Nervous is an adjective in the sentence.

I have broken down your sentences as:

He was nervous to pick a dancing partner(a woman)

The women were nervous of being picked.

Both the man and women are equal in a way as both of them are nevous at the same time. So, the construction you have used in the sentence is very comman in English.

There is always another way of saying the same thing differently, so, you could also write it as follows:

  1. He had to choose a dancing partner. He was as nervous to pick one as they were nervous of being picked.

  2. He had to choose a dancing partner. He was nervous to do so and they were also nervous of being picked.

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