Is it correct to say:

It would be nice to have as general an answer as possible.

I'm not sure... I think I've read similar sentences, if I'm not mistaken.

Any help would be appreciated.

  • 2
    It sounds good to this native speaker. – stangdon Jul 15 '16 at 21:25
  • "As general of an answer as possible" sounds better to me. – arrey Jul 15 '16 at 21:47
  • I think it is OK, but have may not be the best verb. If this is about an answer you expect in reply to a question, I would go with "It would be nice to receive/get as general an answer as possible. – user3169 Jul 15 '16 at 23:55
  • 1
    It is a very common construction. "Go and get as big a bowl as you can find and make a giant salad for the party." It puts emphasis on the adjective. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 16 '16 at 9:12

Yes, that's fine.

as general an answer as possible

means the same thing as

an answer that is as general as possible

In other words, an answer that cannot be any more general. It has already been made general to the extent that is possible.

Grammatically, the adjective phrase as general appears in Predeterminer position, which has that name because it comes before the Determiner an. It licenses the post-head Complement as possible.

This construction is covered in Michael Swan's Practical English Usage (3rd edition) in section 14. For a more technical reference, see The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 435.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for the answer and the references therein. (by the way it's ok this use of 'therein'? =D ) – An old man in the sea. Jul 16 '16 at 9:37

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