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  1. Key Member
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    #51

    Re: (just) as much ... as ... Prescriptive or Descriptive?

    Well, it's your thread, M56; so if you insist:

    First, here's a question. Are you talking about a student growing in an English speaking country? Or are you talking about an ESL/EFL student that wants to learn how to speak English?
    Either. If someone has wit enough to ask the question, they have wit enough to understand my reply.

    If you are talking about someone growing up in an English speaking country - someone whose first language is English - I should hope that's exactly what he/she says to you.
    Your good wishes are noted.

    If you're talking about an ESL/EFL student, then it's very unlikely that he/she would say "up yours".
    Perhaps the student in question has made a special study of the colourful BrE idioms used in 'Eastenders'...But if you prefer penny-plain:

    Student: "MrP, I don't agree with your analysis. In my opinion, the 'much' construction has a different meaning. So I'll use it whenever I want."
    MrP: "Good luck to you, my friend."

    However, this student would eventually find out that your pedantic Englsih is different from the English used in the normal world of English language speakers.
    I'm happy to respond to this interestingly ad-hominem remark; but I'll first need to know:
    a) what you mean by my 'pedantic English', with examples;
    b) what you mean by the 'normal world of English language speakers'. (North America? Canada? Australia? Singapore? Scotland?)

    Yes, but would you tell a student "you can't say it because it's wrong".
    Did I say wrong? Hmm. I thought I said redundant, except in unusual situations.

    As for 'you can't say', well, if someone wants to use the construction, who am I to stop him?

    There is what we say, and there is what we write. There is register. There is formal and informal. There's context.
    I applaud your rhetoric; but I don't quite see the relevance of these statements. How would you relate them to the original question?

    So, is this a "cannot say" to you?
    It's not a construction I can imagine myself using, in either form.

    But if I did happen to find I'd written 'this is as much X as it is Y' (where X and Y were adjectives) in a draft document, I'd certainly delete the 'much' except in the special cases I've noted above. Why use two words, where one will do?

    Is the manner in which you speak English really that well controlled? I tend to doubt anyone's spontaneous language conforms to such restrictive views of "ideal language".
    I'm confused. A couple of questions ago, you called my English 'pedantic'. Now you doubt whether it's 'that well controlled'. Which do you think it is, XM?

    See you around,
    MrP
    Last edited by MrPedantic; 07-Jul-2005 at 16:30.

  2. Key Member
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    #52

    Re: (just) as much ... as ... Prescriptive or Descriptive?

    So, Mr. Pedantic, if a student said "can I say it?", what would you say?
    "MrP, I've found a fascinating website."
    "Uh huh."
    "It's called UsingEnglish.com."
    "Good name..."
    "But I'm a little puzzled by a post I saw there."
    "Uh huh?"
    "It goes like this:"

    Quote Originally Posted by M56
    In which situation would you, personally, use number one over number two?
    1. This is as much unnecessary as it is undesirable.
    2. This is as unnecessary as it is undesirable.
    "Nice question."
    "Yes...so what's the answer, MrP?"
    "I'd say it's pretty straightforward. #1 is more emphatic. 'It was (just) as much unnecessary as it was undesirable.' End of story."
    "Emphatic...hmm...well...yes...maybe..."
    "What's the matter, MissQ? You don't sound convinced."
    "I don't know, MrP. It just doesn't sound right to me."
    "Let me remind you who the native speaker is round here, MissQ. I'm the one with the big voice and the fancy weblinks, remember?"
    "Yes...but..."
    "But what, MissQ?"
    "Well, I'm inclined to think that #1 has an element of redundancy."
    "Really, MissQ? And however did that conclusion pop into your pretty little head?"
    "Well, I understand this sentence to be a comparison. 'This is as unnecessary as it is undesirable.' This means both are equal."
    "Indeed. Your point being?"
    "In other words, the degree of one quality is equal to the degree of the other."
    "Cut to the chase, MissQ. We're losing members by the minute."
    "Well, if that's the case, MrP, the construction 'as X as it is Y' already implies 'X to the same degree as Y'."
    "I still don't quite follow, MissQ."
    "If 'as X as it is Y' already implies 'X to the same degree as Y', the 'much' in #1 is redundant."
    "How many times must I tell you, MissQ: language isn't mathematics."
    "Indeed, MrP; but why use two words, where one will do?"
    "Wait a minute, MissQ. Are you seriously suggesting that I, as a native speaker, can't say 'It was as much unnecessary as it was undesirable' if I want to?"
    "Not at all, MrP. I never said 'can't'. I said #1 had an element of redundancy, that's all."
    "So I'm wrong? is that it?"
    "Not in the least, MrP! Did I say 'wrong'? When did I say 'wrong'?"
    "How many times do I have to tell you: I'm the native speaker round here. You should trust that I speak correctly. I'm not relearning anything, thank you. My language is correct! My language is correct!"
    "MrP, I really don't mind if you say it! Really! I won't be using it myself, of course, but - "
    "You won't?"
    "Shoot, no. When would I use a phrase like that?"
    "Come to think of it...I can't imagine using it myself either."
    "There you go."
    "MissQ, have I ever told you: you have the prettiest prepositions I've ever seen."
    "Oh, MrP!"
    "Come away with me, MissQ. We'll make beautiful adverbs together."
    "But MrP...I'm a pedant!"
    "No matter. We'll get that Fowler surgically removed."
    "I'm a prescriptivist!"
    "Well, I've never told anyone this before, MissQ...but I'm not averse to a little bit of prescriptivism myself. Leastways, I sure like telling other people what they do and don't think."
    "But MrP...You don't understand. (She whips off her fake mid-European accent, exasperated, and changes to a normal, West Yorks voice.) I'm a native speaker."
    "Well, MissQ, nobody's perfect."
    Last edited by MrPedantic; 08-Jul-2005 at 00:26.

  3. M56
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    #53

    Re: (just) as much ... as ... Prescriptive or Descriptive?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic

    See you around,

    MrP

    Many thanks for that. Sure cleared a lot of things up.

  4. M56
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    #54

    Re: (just) as much ... as ... Prescriptive or Descriptive?

    [QUOTE=MrPedantic]"MrP, I've found a fascinating website."
    "Uh huh."
    "It's called UsingEnglish.com."...
    QUOTE]

    Funny stuff, Mr P.

    Did anyone tell MissQ that "much" is modifying both "unnecessary" and "undesirable" in the example sentence?

  5. Key Member
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    #55

    Re: (just) as much ... as ... Prescriptive or Descriptive?

    Quote Originally Posted by M56
    Did anyone tell MissQ that "much" is modifying both "unnecessary" and "undesirable" in the example sentence?
    That's an interesting thought, M56.

    1. That's as much undesirable as it's unnecessary.

    I would take 'as much' for a compound adverb; whereas the second 'as' strikes me as a conjunction.

    How do you see them?

    MrP

  6. M56
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    #56

    Re: (just) as much ... as ... Prescriptive or Descriptive?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic
    That's an interesting thought, M56.

    1. That's as much undesirable as it's unnecessary.

    I would take 'as much' for a compound adverb; whereas the second 'as' strikes me as a conjunction.

    How do you see them?

    MrP
    Like this:


    It is much undesirable and it is much unnecessary:

  7. Key Member
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    #57

    Re: (just) as much ... as ... Prescriptive or Descriptive?

    Quote Originally Posted by M56
    Like this:
    It is much undesirable and it is much unnecessary:
    I would agree that these are possible:

    1. It is much more unnecessary than it is undesirable.
    2. It is somewhat unnecessary and highly undesirable.
    3. It is as much your fault as it is mine.

    But these I find difficult:

    4. It is much unnecessary.
    5. It is much undesirable.

    They don't seem to google, for instance; even 'it is as much unnecessary' only seems to bring up a similar discussion on another forum.

    It's as if the 'much' were aspiring to the status of 'molto' ('molto sgradevole' is fine).

    MrP

  8. Key Member
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    #58

    Re: (just) as much ... as ... Prescriptive or Descriptive?

    Why is unnecessary ungradable? If necessity is gradable (think of Mazlow's heirarchy) why would its opposite be ungradable? If the word unnecessary can be used in a conditional or subjunctive construction, isn't it then being graded?

    If an umbrella is only necessary on rainy days, it is unnecessary, but not completely unnecessary on fair days because the weather can change.

  9. M56
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    #59

    Re: (just) as much ... as ... Prescriptive or Descriptive?

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner
    Why is unnecessary ungradable? If necessity is gradable (think of Mazlow's heirarchy) why would its opposite be ungradable? If the word unnecessary can be used in a conditional or subjunctive construction, isn't it then being graded?

    If an umbrella is only necessary on rainy days, it is unnecessary, but not completely unnecessary on fair days because the weather can change.
    That makes sense.

  10. M56
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    #60

    Re: (just) as much ... as ... Prescriptive or Descriptive?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic
    I would agree that these are possible:

    1. It is much more unnecessary than it is undesirable.
    2. It is somewhat unnecessary and highly undesirable.
    3. It is as much your fault as it is mine.

    But these I find difficult:

    4. It is much unnecessary.
    5. It is much undesirable.

    They don't seem to google, for instance; even 'it is as much unnecessary' only seems to bring up a similar discussion on another forum.

    It's as if the 'much' were aspiring to the status of 'molto' ('molto sgradevole' is fine).

    MrP
    How about:

    It is much wanted.
    It is much desired.
    It is much required.

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