Are there places where we can't use 'much', but 'very much' is OK?

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2

I think there are cases when you can use very much but not much:

  • I would very much like to meet him.
  • *I would much like to meet him.

I don't know what grammar rule addresses this difference. This is quite bizarre for me; all very does is intensifying much, so very much should be the same as much, yet it isn't!

Why is this difference? And where exactly are these two different and where are they the same?

Færd

Posted 2015-12-22T13:38:36.183

Reputation: 1 848

I wonder if we really can't drop that very in your example, grammatically. Even a more awkward case, Thank you much, is debatable, in my opinion. – Damkerng T. – 2015-12-22T14:07:01.957

@DamkerngT. Yes. In such case second option would've been written as *I would so much like to meet him.* – Alejandro – 2015-12-22T14:09:16.833

@DamkerngT I kind of agree that grammatically it is correct, but sounds awkward. Nice question, hope it gets a good answer. – Vilmar – 2015-12-22T14:11:32.987

Answers

3

Yes, there are instances where we are prohibited to use much without very:

Be careful!

In positive sentences, don't use much without very. Don't say, for example, 'I enjoyed it much' or 'We much agree' Say 'I enjoyed it very much' or 'We very much agree'.

The link I provided explains the use of the word much depending on the context and its different uses.

Lucian Sava

Posted 2015-12-22T13:38:36.183

Reputation: 11 342

2If the Be careful note is entirely correct, how should we explain these: I much appreciate your help; We much appreciate your invitation; We much prefer country to the town? – Damkerng T. – 2015-12-22T15:55:42.947

1

"Much" can be used as a determiner, pronoun, or adverb. This is what I just found in Practical English Usage about adverbial much:

much as an adverb

We can use much as an adverb in questions and negative clauses.
- Do you work much at weekends?
- I don't travel much these days.

We can also use much before comparative adjectives and adverbs, in affirmative clauses as well as questions and negatives.
- She's much older than her brother.
- I don't drive much faster than you.

Much can be used before some verbs expressing enjoyment, preference and similar ideas, in affirmative clauses as well as questions and negatives, especially in a formal style.
- I much appreciate your help.
- We much prefer the country to the town.
- I didn't much enjoy the concert.

Very much can be used in affirmative clauses as an adverb, but not usually before a noun. Compare:
- I very much like your new hair style. (adverb)
- Thank you very much. (adverb)
- There is a whole lot of water coming under the door. (before noun)
(NOT There is very much water coming ....)

This entry is also relevant:

much or very with past participles

When a past participle is part of a passive verb, we can put much or very much before it, but not very.
- He's (very) much admired by his students. (NOT ... very admired ...)
- Britain's trade position has been (very) much weakened by inflation. (NOT ... very weekend ...)

When a past participle is used as an adjective, we usually prefer very. This is common with words referring to mental states, feelings and reactions.
- a very frightened animal (NOT a much frightened animal)
- a very shocked expression
- The children were very bored.
- She looked very surprised.

Common exceptions:
- That's Alice, unless I'm (very) much mistaken. (NOT very mistaken)
- He's well known in the art world. (NOT very known)
With amused, very and (very) much are both possible.
- I was very amused/much amused/very much amused by Miranda's performance.

Færd

Posted 2015-12-22T13:38:36.183

Reputation: 1 848

Another possible situation for much to appear in an affirmative clause, is the phrase "would much rather" : I'd much rather die of hunger than beg for food. – Færd – 2016-02-02T20:35:24.333