A literary review by a respected British journalist and obituary writer of an official biography of Britain's Queen Mother and published yesterday in London's main evening newspaper, began with this paragraph:
The threat facing all royal biographers is that they will end up producing not so much a book as constructing a literary mausoleum.
I'm not impressed. The above sentence appears to have a fundamental flaw. Either one word should be moved or another deleted. Does anyone else agree? Can you explain what is wrong?
I agree it's poorly constructed. After 'producing not so much' + a noun, we expect a comma and another noun. Using not so much as a partitive after producing requires this. Changing the gerund to 'producing' at this point destroys the dichotomy set up.