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She told herself that she could actually become as tall as she wanted.

Why use " as tall as" rather than " such a tall person that"?

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  • Could you please explain why you think "as tall as" is wrong? For example, "I want to get as rich as I can" is perfectly normal English. Have you read something that says it's not?
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 16:26
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    Erm... because such a tall person that syntactically / logically requires that it be followed by some clause defining a condition or action that would only be possible for a person at least as tall as she was (or hoped to become). For example, She told herself that she could actually become such a tall person that she would be able to see over the high wall. Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 16:28

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Such means "of the kind mentioned or implied."

If you followup a such X with a later that, then you're "undoing" the "implied" meaning of such, which is contradictory and confusing.

She told herself that she could actually become such a tall person. (Fine, we're referring to "a tall person" that was previously mentioned or implied)

She told herself that she could actually become such a tall person that she wanted. (Now sounds like there's a specific tall person the writer/speaker had in mind that the implication created by such didn't cover - doesn't work.)

Of course, if only she has an idea of how tall she wants, and we know she is less tall than that amount, as tall as she wanted expresses this perfectly without us having to know precisely how tall that is, or otherwise read her mind.

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    I'm pretty certain that your second version (...such a tall person that she wanted) is syntactically invalid whatever text precedes it. Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 16:56
  • What you say in your comment is the same mistake OP is making. Qualifying such X after the fact is a misuse of such.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 17:05
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    "She told herself that she could actually become such a tall person that she could never be overlooked again." Qualifying such x after the fact seems quite ordinary. The problem with OP's proposition is that "that she wanted" isn't a sensible postcedent for "such a tall person". Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 17:39
  • @LawrenceC - I think you are confusing several definitions of such. It can mean of the type and it can mean to a high degree. Such a tall person that... means A person whose height is so extreme that.... -- they can reach a second story window, for example.
    – EllieK
    Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 17:03

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