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I understand 'not so much A as B' = 'not A but rather B'

Q1: Would it be correct to understand 'They are not so much lovers as friends' =

'They are more like friends than lovers'

Q2: This question concerns over the position of the phrase 'so much'

Do the three sentences have the equal meaning?

'I don't feel angry; I am more sad.'

'I don't feel angry so much as sad.'

'I don't feel so much angry as sad.'

If the three sentences have the same meaning, then would it be right to accept that the position of 'so much' may vary, but the word 'as' always precedes the more important option, i.e. B from 'not A but rather B' ?'

  • You seem pretty much right, sentences 1 and 2 make sense and 3 is just awkwardly ordered. You might get better help on English Language Learners – BladorthinTheGrey May 22 '18 at 6:34
  • @BladorthinTheGrey Thank you for your reply. I assume you mean by '3' as 'I don't feel so much angry as sad.' True, the example sentence I saw in the dictionary was '2'. But the question is that the word order is different: it is not 'not so much A as B' but 'not A so much as B'. I will try the English Language Learners, if there are no other replies, from anyone. Thank you! – J. Smith May 22 '18 at 6:59
  • Regarding “not A” - I don’t think the ‘not so much’ construct completely negates A in favour of B. It’s comparative unless used for humour. – Lawrence May 22 '18 at 7:02

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