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I am still confused with the following pattern.

"x is not as y as z"

For example,

A: x is not as stupid as y.
B: p is not as small as q.

Which are the correct interpretations?

A': x is smarter than y.
A'': x is more stupid than y.

B': p is greater than q.
B'': p is smaller than q.
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  • Note that you could in principle say something like The Planck length is not as small as a speck of dust - it's almost infinitely smaller (comparing a speck of dust to the Planck length is like comparing the Earth to a speck of dust). Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 15:29

2 Answers 2

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We use 'as' to denote equality of some kind, and 'not as' to denote inequality in the smaller direction, thus:

John is as tall as Peter - John is the same height as Peter.

John is not as tall as Peter - John is less tall than Peter. The implication here may be that John and Peter are both tall, John less so.

To say the opposite, we would use the opposite adjective:

John is not as short as Peter - John is taller than Peter. The implication here may be that John and Peter are both short, John less so.

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A:

x is not as stupid as y ----> x is less stupid than y ----> x is more intelligent than y

B:

p is not as small as q ----> p is less small than q ----> p is bigger than q

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