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Much though he likes her, he doesn't love her.

Much as he needed money for a new car, he decided not to borrow it from the bank.

Both are correct in a grammar book, but my teacher tells me that the first is wrong. Why?

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Much though seems fine to me although probably less common than much as. Is your teacher a native speaker of English? –  Shoe Mar 20 '12 at 6:57

1 Answer 1

There's no difference in meaning between the two forms, but note that in OP's usage, much as is effectively short for as much as.

To my mind, this implies much though is short for as much though, which is clearly nonsense. Consequently, I don't like the form one little bit, but I do note that it's used in the The living age: Volume 87 (1865) - "Much though he loved Stanford Rivers..."

That's obviously not an isolated example, but it's worth noting the relative frequency of occurrence...

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That's "much as it":8990K, "much though it":104K - if it's "grammatical", it's not much favoured. It's also worth noting that within those results, most of the hits for "as" are actually for our context here, but most of the "though" instances aren't. I can't produce a chart for an unambiguous string of words because nothing occurs often enough, but "but much though it" gets only 9 hits in Google Books, whereas "but much as it" gets 29,100.

Clearly the preference is very strong, so OP's teacher is correct in saying the usage is "wrong", even though strictly speaking it seems to be grammatical. In the final analysis, it's what people actually say/write that counts, not what they're allowed to say, but normally don't.

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+1 Sometimes preference rules. –  Daniel Mar 20 '12 at 15:34
    
@Daniel: Quite. Thinking about it some more, I can't come up with any justification at all for saying it's not grammatical. I'm still minded to think my point about structural similarity to as much as would influence others as well, but that's no reason for ruling against though on grammatical grounds. I think it really is just "preference". –  FumbleFingers Mar 20 '12 at 15:46

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