General Writing and Grammar Help/Another question

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Question
Dear Ted,

Thank you very much for your prompt reply!

Again, I have a question about the usage of very and much.

I surf the internet, finding there are three usages:

1. I am very much interested in English.
2. I am very interested in English.
3. I am much interested in English.

I think 3 is more formal than 2. What’s your opinion?

Thanks! God bless you!

Best Regards

Walden

Answer
Dear Walden:

Again, I have a question about the usage of very and much.

I surf the internet, finding there are three usages:

1. I am very much interested in English.
2. I am very interested in English.
3. I am much interested in English.

I think 3 is more formal than 2. What’s your opinion?

*** #3 is not used very often, although it is correct.  Sentences #1 and #2 are commonly used, and both versions are correct.

Walden, you used the word "formal."  I know what you mean by that, and I agree with you.

However, the REAL difference between 1 and 2 is not "formality."  It is "emphasis."  Using the adverb "very" to modify the other "much" increases the stress or the emphasis.  It is like you are UNDERSCORING the word "much" by placing "very" before it.  Therefore, #1 is a stronger statement than #2.

I did not include #3 in my comparison, but #3 is equal to #2 in intensity.  Because of the double adverb construction [VERY MUCH] in the first sentence, it is stronger than the other two.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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