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Possible Duplicate:
“I so much as look” doesn't make any sense to me

I found the following in a book:

Goyle reached toward the Chocolate Frogs next to Ron ---- Ron leapt forward, but before he'd so much as touched Goyle, Goyle let out a horrible yell.

I can't make sense of the part in italic. Could someone explain what it means and how is it constructed?

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marked as duplicate by KitFox, Matt Эллен, RegDwigнt Jun 12 '12 at 13:17

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Have you checked the dictionary definition? Or searched the site to find the answer? Because at 900+ rep you really should. –  RegDwigнt Jun 12 '12 at 13:17
    
Dictionaries don't tell you when a phrase is a Negative Polarity Item like so/as much as V, or a Negative Trigger like if. Nor what happens when an NPI occurs outside the scope of a trigger. –  John Lawler Jun 12 '12 at 14:34

1 Answer 1

before he'd so much as touched Goyle means that before he could even touch Goyle. You can understand the sentence as:

Goyle reached toward the Chocolate Frogs next to Ron ---- Ron leapt forward, but before he could even touch Goyle, Goyle let out a horrible yell.

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