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Consider the sentence:

"She sees him not so much as her uncle as her friend."

Is this sentence correct? I feel something is missing, or perhaps I am disturbed by the extra 'as'. Compare with:

"He is not so much her friend as (he is) her uncle."

What do you suggest?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

‘She sees him not so much as her uncle as her friend’ is a perfectly normal English sentence. So, too, is ‘He is not so much her friend as her uncle’. If you want to insert he is between as and her uncle, you can, but it's not necessary.

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Inserting "she sees him not so much as her uncle as she does her friend" would be wrong though, wouldn't it? – Benjamin Jan 2 '12 at 15:16
@Benjamin: The sentence would still be grammatical, but it might be ambiguous. – Barrie England Jan 2 '12 at 15:22

People often insert the word "but" or a similar word to give a better rhythm. For example:

She sees him not as her uncle, but as her friend.

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What you propose would change the meaning of the sentence. not so much this as that is different from not as this but as that, the first mitigates while the second opposes. – Benjamin Jan 2 '12 at 18:37
@Benjamin: Okay, depending on context that might change the meaning. Still, I'd rather write, "She sees him not so much as her uncle but rather as her friend." – Jay Jan 3 '12 at 5:40

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