Does the sentence mean the same even after I put an as before the word tired as follows?

Tired as I was, I worked overtime.
As tired as I was, I worked overtime.

(an adverb clause meaning Although)

Could you help me clarify it?


The traditional form is Tired as I was, ...

But you do now encounter As tired as I was, ...

I believe this arises from a blend of the unfamiliar syntax with the more familiar as tired as.

Looking at the Corpus of Historical American English, I find 575 instances of "[adj] as [pron] was", and up to 1900 there were at least 35 per decade, but only 7 in the 1990s and 12 in the 200s.

On the other hand "as [adj] as [pron] was" has 85 instances, but more than a third of them since 1990. It never had more than ten instances in any decade until then; but had 16 in the 1990s and 19 in the 2000s.

So in this particular corpus, the form with AS was rare until around 20 years ago, but overtook the form without AS in the 2000s.

  • Upvoted. Is there a name for this construction? Also I can't find a page with details on its usage. One of the few hits I was able to find is another similar question on ELU also answered by you...
    – Eddie Kal
    Feb 11 '18 at 21:22
  • @Deansue I believe this is a form of the comparative as . . . as construction, since the second instance of "as" is required here. It's being used for emphasis, but the implication is, more or less, "I was as tired as I was" (which was really tired). Feb 11 '18 at 22:17
  • @joiedevivre, I don't believe that what I've called the traditional construction is comparative at all. I think it is a variant of tired though I was, which is though I was tired with tired fronted for emphasis. I can't account for as in place of though. I think that it has been remodelled on the pattern of the more familiar as tired as construction. A similar thing has happened to so to speak, again with unusual syntax, which some people now render as so as to speak, under the influence of the more common so as to ...
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 11 '18 at 23:03
  • @ColinFine You may be correct, and I'm wrong, but I tend to think of both the traditional construction and the one with "as" as simply different levels of ellipsis for (Even though I was as) tired as I was, Another example: Because he was as tall as he was, he could reach the top shelf might be shortened to Tall as he was, he could reach the top shelf. I can't say I've heard so as to speak. It sounds quite wrong to me. Feb 11 '18 at 23:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .