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In Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary 3rd ed., one of the usage examples given for the entry much is:

One day I hope I'll be able to do as much for you as you've done for me.

Is the meaning still the same if I move the prepositional phrase for you just before the expression as much as?

One day I hope I'll be able to do for you as much as you've done for me.

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

They both have the same meaning. Let's simplify by replacing the noun phrase with a noun, and trimming away some of the clauses of the sentence.

I will do a favour for you.

I will do for you a favour.

Both of those are grammatically valid, and have the same meaning. The first sounds more natural, and is what most native speakers would say. The second is a valid form that you might find in a poem, folk song, old writing, or someone deliberately speaking/writing in that manner.

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+1 because you're right about your example - but I don't think the preference is so marked in OP's example. In his, whichever of for you or as much comes first tends to carry more emphasis, because it's more closely associated with do. So there's more justification for using the second form if that's what you want to convey. But mostly it's down to context and intonation anyway. –  FumbleFingers Jan 19 '12 at 17:28
    
Your basic premise is different from the OP, though your argument is correct. –  Kris Jan 20 '12 at 6:42
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Both seem to convey the same meaning. However, the first one is more emphatic.It sounds best when "as much" is stressed.

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Per my comment to @slim's answer, I agree the first tends to emphasise as much. But by the same token, the second tends to emphasise for you (i.e. - the envisaged returning of a favour to that person is important because of its implications for your future relationship with him - it's not just a matter of the favour being of equal value). –  FumbleFingers Jan 19 '12 at 17:36
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