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Fowler's Concise Dictionary of Modern English Usage, page 621 reads

If we say a much respected politician we stress the process, whereas a very respected politician assesses the effect.

What process and effect is the author referring to here?

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    The process of respecting and the resultant level of respect.
    – Jim
    May 12 at 15:10
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    I'd challenge this ('respected' is more stative than is implied here), and argue they're closely synonymous. M-W gives 'adverbial' (adjective-modifier) 'much' and 'very' as synonyms; much gratified. As in 'very/much impressed'. May 12 at 15:22
  • @Jim Still, STRESS a process vs ASSESS its result, why?
    – GJC
    May 12 at 15:31
  • @BenjaminHarman what would be the differences for obliged oed.com/oed2/00161398 (unlike respected oed.com/oed2/00204222)
    – GJC
    May 12 at 16:24
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    @StuartF ( a ) The uses of very and much as intensifying adverbs are for the most part complementary. Very qualifies adjectives and adverbs ( very large, very slowly), whereas much qualifies past participles that are used as adjectives ( a much enlarged edition; They were much criticized; a much enfeebled Soviet Union). LOVED oed.com/oed2/00136043, BELOVED oed.com/oed2/00020085
    – GJC
    May 12 at 16:49

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