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I have heard this type of sentence with the same structure every time: 'Beautiful as she is', 'Intelligent as he is...'

Is it grammatically correct and if it is what's this grammatical phenomenon called? How do you end such a sentence? I believe it's Inversion but I'm not sure.

For example with a sentence beginning like this 'Young as she is...' how would I end it?

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    The speaker is making a concession, i.e. conceding that he is intelligent, but then going on to state something that goes against what has been conceded. Intelligent as he is, he still forgets to tie his shoelaces.
    – TimR
    May 24, 2016 at 14:24

2 Answers 2

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These are not sentences but heavily reduced versions of much fuller clauses of the form

  [X  SUBJ BE as]   ADJ as SUBJ BE 
  [X   she is as] young as  she is

The construction SUBJ BE as ADJ as SUBJ BE may be paraphrased

  SUBJ BE so ADJ
   she is so young

"X" here is a term of the sort traditional grammars call subordinating conjunctions and contemporary grammars tend to call prepositions. X is usually understood to have the sense of either because or although.

Such clauses are typically employed as clausal modifiers with either a consequential (because) or a contrastive/concessive (although) sense. Which sense is intended is usually clear from the context:

CONSEQUENTIAL: [Because she is as] Young as she is, she doesn't have the maturity for this position.

CONCESSIVE: [Although she is as] Young as she is, she's too old to play this part.

You will often encounter this sort of clause with the first as still in place:

As young as she is, she's too old to play this part.

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I wouldn't be able to tell you how it's called, but it is grammatically correct, and conveys a contradiction between the first and second propositions. A simple example, since you asked for it:

Young as she is, she's already accomplished many things.

Despite the fact that she's only lived for so long, she's already made those years matter. This is equivalent to:

Even though she is Young, she's already accomplished many things.

As TRomano pointed out, talking about concession is even more accurate.

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  • I particularly enjoy the idiom "Be as it may..." instead of "It may be so, but..."
    – MorganFR
    May 24, 2016 at 14:15
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    @MorganFR I've usually heard the phrase as "Be that as it may".
    – Era
    May 24, 2016 at 14:33
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    This sort of phrase can also be used in a non-concessive sense: Young as she is, she doesn't have the maturity for this position. May 24, 2016 at 14:36
  • I've only read it in a concessive way so far, and automatically assumed it was purely designed for this purpose. Would you have a handy source on this matter ?
    – Azami
    May 24, 2016 at 14:37
  • Yes sorry I did mean "be that as it may," I just typed it too fast
    – MorganFR
    May 24, 2016 at 14:38

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