“Conceited as he is” vs. “As he is conceited” -- These two are nuanced in meaning? If so, how?

I’m wondering if these two phrases are somehow nuanced in meaning? Any difference at all, apart from the different word order? Thank you very much.
Woman: My sister sent him some love letters, and she had the gall to sign my name. Conceited as he is, naturally he fell for it.

Woman: My sister sent him some love letters, and she had the gall to sign my name. As he is conceited, naturally he fell for it.

I think the first has more of a nuance of reminding of you information you already know, the second is telling you something you may not know.

“Conceited as he is…” - “I expect you already know just how conceited he is, and as it happens this is relevant to what I’m about to tell you…”

“As he is conceited…” - “It’s important that I tell you he’s conceited, just in case you don’t know, because it’s relevant to what I’m about to tell you…”



I agree. We tend to put known information, or previously mentioned information, toward the beginning of a clause or sentence.

Wow. I certainly hadn’t expected this kind of difference. Thank you.

For what it’s worth, I too agree with Aspidistra.

The clearest difference is that the word “as” has a different meaning in the two. In the first, it’s indicating a degree or amount, while in the second, it means the same as “because”.

As Chronos says, the word “as” has different meanings. The first sentence, “Conceited as he is, naturally he fell for it.” means “He’s so very conceited that …”, while the second, “As he is conceited, naturally he fell for it.” means “Since he is conceited (in some degree), …”.

Aspidistra’s post carries the distinction further, to the level of conversation and all the social and cultural stuff surrounding that.

And for once, pedantic though we may be, there would be no difference on this side of the Atlantic.

Though I would note that the “Conceited as he is” construct is, IMO, far more typically used as part of a sentence communicating an “in spite of” idea such as:

“Conceited as he is, he’s not going to sabotage everything just to feed his own ego.”

Meaning “He’s not going to sabotage <whatever it is> just because he’s conceited.”

This is a case where “As he is conceited” would not work.

Googling shows some hits for “Conceited as he is”

which is showing you the degree of his conceit.

I would also understand the “conceited as he is” to be available for a contradictory clause to follow - “Conceited as he is, he nevertheless realised I could not have written a letter like that to him”. Whereas “As he is conceited” clearly indicates a causal sequence to what follows.

I disagree with the idea that it’s about telling you information vs. assuming you already have the information.

I agree with TokyoBayer. “As he is conceited” implies that it’s a black-and-white situation, either he IS conceited or he ISN’T conceited. But “conceited as he is” implies that it’s not only the fact that he is conceited to some degree but it’s the LEVEL of his conceit which is relevant here. If he were conceited to a slightly less degree then things would be different. It’s not black or white, it’s a shade of gray.
Also (as PatrickLondon pointed out) “as conceited as he is” could be used to say he isn’t conceited enough.

Consider these three sentences.

“He’s a good basketball player, as he is tall.”

“As tall as he is, he can touch a basketball net without jumping.”

“As tall as he is, he still has to jump in order to dunk the ball.”

The first points out something about his height but it’s vague. The second tells you that his height is above a certain minimum. The third tells you it’s below a certain maximum.

There’s not much point to analyzing either clause, let alone the individual words, on the sentence level because they mean the same thing. As already implied, from the second post, whether you choose to say it one way or the other depends on the previous discourse. We do the same thing in everyday conversation. If you compare the following two sentences alone, you’re not going to get anywhere trying to determine differences in “nuances” of meaning:*1. On Tuesday, she’s going to review the whole case.
2. She’s going to review the whole case on Tuesday.
*We need to examine the actual preceding discourse, so that we can see how we would choose one over the other depending on, for example, what kind of question is preceding the statement:

*A) What’s she going to do on Tuesday?
B) On Tuesday, she’s going to review the whole case.
*A) When’s she going to review the whole case?
B) She’s going to review the whole case on Tuesday.
*Essentially, that’s what’s happening here, as some posts have implied. If conceitedness has been the topic focus (or a “sub-topic focus”) in the directly preceding discourse, then we’re going to choose the first word order, so that the word conceited occurs first, creating stronger cohesion with discourse that has just occurred. If conceitedness is a topic that the writer is introducing at this point (or re-introducing), then we’re going to choose the second word order, because in English, with extended discourse we tend to put new information toward the end of the sentence or clause.