A famous song by The Beatles has the following lines:

He's as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see

I have run across similar phrases more than once and now am determined to finally sort it out. So what does it mean? Is it a kind of emphasis? Or does it mean he is doing his best to be as blind as possible?

  • The first line means he couldn't be any more blind. The second one tells us that he does this on purpose. Taken together, they could mean that "he is doing his best to be as blind as possible," but I wouldn't necessarily make this inference from the first line alone. – Teacher KSHuang May 5 '17 at 11:54
  • 2
    "as _______ as he can be" just means "as ______ as possible", or, slightly less literally, "extremely ______". – stangdon May 5 '17 at 11:57

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