Rough and gray as rock, I'm plain as plain can be. But hidden deep inside there's great beauty in me. What am I?

What does "I'm plain as plain can be" mean? Does it mean the first plain is an adjective and the second plain is a noun? The sentence is a comparative sentence that is led by as.


1 Answer 1


Wrong - both are adjectives. The idiom "As [adjective] as [adjective] can be" is an established usage meaning "very [adjective] indeed".

Since a contrast with beauty is supplied, plain here evidently means ugly rather than simple or clear.

  • As plain as it is possible to be. May 24, 2022 at 8:38
  • From my schooldays: Latin is a language as dead as dead can be. It killed the ancient Romans, and now it's killing me! May 24, 2022 at 8:41
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    I'd say not necessarily "ugly" but more "unremarkable", "boring", "inconspicuous".
    – CompuChip
    May 24, 2022 at 8:53
  • @CompuChip - that is not what was asked about. May 24, 2022 at 9:28
  • @MichaelHarvey no but it was mentioned in this answer, I just disagreed with that it "evidently" means ugly.
    – CompuChip
    May 24, 2022 at 9:34

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