I have a English usage/construction question that I struggle find a reliable answer to. The question is relayed to the usage of 'very' and 'much' with the adjective "different" and is as follows:
Should it be
- He is much different from his father. Or
- He is very different from his father.
What if the sentence is in the negative form?
- He is not much different from his father. Or
- He is not very different from his father.
In the first case, I find that 'very' sounds much better than 'much'. However, in the second case I somehow feel that 'not much different' is the correct construction.
I know that, as adverbs, 'very''s usage is more extensive than that of 'much', but only 'much' can be used to modify comparatives. In that case, can 'different' function as a comparative adjective?
I also understand that 'much' usually cannot be used in a positive sentence. Does this mean 'not much different' is grammatically correct, and 'much different' should be replaced by 'a lot different'?