2

The following examples are clearly wrong:

× I am very much tired
× She is very much clever

But the following sounds fine (at least according to OALD):

I am very much afraid that ...
I am very much aware of ...

Worse, the following sounds awkward to me:

× I am very aware of ...

I wonder some sound ok while the others do not. Does it have to do with the type of adjectives being used? Or is there a subtle nuance between "very" and "very much"? Is "very much" the same as "extremely" (I would guess not, at least in the "afraid" example)? When should/can one use "very much", as opposed to "very"? Are there differences between spoken and written uses?

3

I'd say "very much" isn't used with adjectives of characteristics/qualities that tend to be inherent or permanent (She's very intelligent.)

And we tend to use very much with other adjectives, especially if they go with a preposition. (I'm very much aware OF the fact that...)

Good question. I can imagine my students asking me this in the near future.

1
  • 1
    Good question indeed. And I think the point about 'adjectival complements' (afraid that/of ...; aware of ...; ready for the encounter is relevant, though by no means a firm rule (very wrong of him to come; very eager for the holidays to come). The actual adjective seems to have a say in the matter, alongside other factors. I think this will need a doctoral thesis as an answer (and I'd bet even that wouldn't come up with firm rules). – Edwin Ashworth Feb 9 '14 at 15:36
0

Collins COBUILD English Usage:

Much and very much are used in front of comparatives, but are not usually used in front of other adjectives. However, you can use them in front of -ed words. ▲ Education is a much debated subject. ▲ She was very much attached to her husband.

You can use very much in front of afraid, alike, alive, and awake. ▲ I am very much afraid that she will end by marrying her cousin. ▲ Dolly and Molly were very much alike. ▲ The animal was not dead but very much alive. ▲ The children were very much awake.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.