In a british movie, a boy is asking an old military man about his sword:

-Boy: Is that the sword you used in battles Mr.Poulter. Could I see it?

-The man(Mr.Poulter): Very dangerous weapon, my lad. An edge as what you could shave with.

The structure "...as what..." in the sentence caught my attention. I have never seen such a structure for comparison. We were taught at school that we should use "so+adjective+that" structure for such comparisons.

I think the man means "The edge is so sharp that you could even use it for shaving".(Or The edge is as sharp as a razor).

If what I understand is correct, then can we say "..as what..." structure is a short form of "...so+adjective+that..." structure, which we were taught at school.


  • It's archaic and informal and hence defies the usual analysis. It has the meaning "an edge so sharp that you could shave with it".
    – BillJ
    Apr 29, 2019 at 8:42

1 Answer 1


This construct is found in only a few dialects, and not in any of the standard ones.

You have the meaning right. There isn't an elided adjective sharp, it's just saying that the edge is the kind of edge you could shave with. You could also say "an edge such as you could shave with", or "an edge of a sort you could shave with", or just "an edge you could shave with".

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