Notes on Nuance: "Matched Only By" (or "Equaled Only By")
Note how the words "matched only by" or "equaled only by" can be used to set up a clever, compelling comparison.
"John and Margaret Gardiner lived in Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland, an hour’s drive from Glasgow. John was an ex-merchant seaman whose ability to dream big was matched only by his ability to run up debts."
—Val McDermid, Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime (2014)
“I had grown up in the New York City public school system and knew that the level of stagnation of its bureaucracy was matched only by the enthusiasm and ability of the bright-eyed children who populated its classrooms.”
—Seymour Fliegel, Miracle in East Harlem (1993)
“His bravery in action was equaled only by his modesty in triumph, and his magnanimity to the vanquished.”
—Captain James Lawrence's Gravestone, Trinity Churchyard (1813)