As a learner, "as ... as" is always a little confusing. Say somebody said the following.

You should do at least as good a job as them.

Now I can understand how there is a noun between two as's, but I've never fuĺly understood how to use articles when using "as ... as". If I were to say something like that, I'd go for this.

You should do an at least as good job as them.

What's the underlying rule of "as ... as" that makes the first usage correct?

Edit: I think I may need to elaborate on what I'm confused about in detail. (Sometimes even describing what I'm confused about is hard to say. Please excuse me :( )

When it comes to the example sentence, the way my mind works is like first, I take the basic form without "as ... as", such as

You should do at least a good job.

Then I try to change it by inserting "as ... as" before and after the adjective, including the following few nouns ("good job" in this case). But this definitely does not work for this sentence.

You should do at least an as good job as them.

I only know this is not correct because I've never heard of this kind of usage. Seeing the correct usage in the first example sentence, I think the correct way to go is moving the article ("a") together with the noun ("job") after the adjective ("good"), but I wasn't sure when and how I should relocate the words that were in front of the adjective to behind of it.

  • Please describe your research. For example, if you looked up "as" in the Collins Dictionary to see how it could be used, you might find this example: "There was no obvious reason why this could not be as good a film as the original." Perhaps you wouldn't have found that particular entry, but please let us know what you did find. Jul 7, 2023 at 23:10
  • I get your point, but do you think that example is explaining anything about the question that I made above? My question was about the "grammar on using a noun with an article between as's", including when it's allowed or how to use. Jul 8, 2023 at 11:57
  • Do you genuinely think that example is answering any of my questions?? Jul 8, 2023 at 11:59
  • No, I don't think that that example answers your question. But as you said, that's not really the point. Jul 8, 2023 at 17:58
  • So you assumed I just posted this question without any prior searching? Jul 8, 2023 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


What's the underlying rule of "as ... as" that makes the first usage correct?

The question so far isn't about "as ... as", but rather about "at least", since you are proposing an alternative that includes the section " ... an at least ... " and ask why it might not be valid.

Let's review examples of "at least", and how it functions:

You should give him five books.
You should give him at least five books.

You should give him an explanation.
You should at least give him an explanation.
You should give him at least some sort of an explanation.

Consider how, in these sentences, you would never place an article or number before "at least":
You should give him five at least books. * NO
You should give him an at least explanation. * NO

The rule seems to be that when "at least" is used as a qualifier/modifier, it goes before or after the object or noun phrase, but certainly doesn't split an object apart from its article. "An amount" never becomes "An at least amount".


In response to the question's update: where should the article be placed? Is it acceptable to move it after the adjective?

Yes, "as good a job". There's also a non-standard but common American phrasing "as good of a job". This is discussed in english.stackexchange.com and languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu.

English has relatively strict word order. After solving the word order puzzle "You should do at least as good a job as them" that's often "the final answer" without too many other choices.

  • Updated the answer
    – Sam
    Jul 9, 2023 at 13:35

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