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I sometimes see this kind of usage of "like so much":

Her flawlessly crafted facade hides a real person that's usually breaking like so much fine china in order to keep up the deception.

Similarly:

In staking out the line between poem and prose, [Danielewski] treats our traditional lexis like so much Silly Putty.

Seems kind of archaic / quaint to me. What does it mean exactly?

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1 Answer 1

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It does sound like an affected phrase to me. It's a metaphor that compares the former object with the latter object as being similar. It's meant humorously, I think.

To translate: In the first phrase, her 'real' inner person is actually a fragile thing, prone to breaking easily, much in the same way that fine china breaks easily. In the second phrase, Danielewski treats our vocabulary like Silly Putty, meaning that he molds it very easily into whatever shape he wants. I think it's meant as a compliment.

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Hm, so basically the "so much" part can be dropped and it'll mean the same. Thought so. –  Stefan Monov Oct 25 '10 at 17:07
    
yeah the meaning will be teh same, but it'll definitely sound different. i can't quite put my finger on it. i was going to say it amplifies the ease with which something is done, but you can also say "he wept painfully, like so many violin quartets eking out sorrowful lamentations" . –  Claudiu Oct 25 '10 at 17:31

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