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  1. siegfried_rus's Avatar

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    #1

    very obliged vs much obliged

    I recently had a doubt when having to choose between I'd be very obliged and I'd be much obliged in my writing. I finally opted for the first pattern, very obliged, as my guess is that obliged (like pleased and the like) is usually used, in combination with link-verbs, predicatively, which is closer to attributive use rather than functioning as a passive of a verb proper. That is, it's an attribute denoting a state. requiring very as intensifier. rather than an action verb, the latter requiring much as intensifier. Is my guess correct in principle?
    Thanks in advance for help.

  2. RonBee's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: very obliged vs much obliged

    I don't know about in principle, but this is the first time I have encountered very obliged. The expression I have known all my life is much obliged.


  3. siegfried_rus's Avatar

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    #3

    Re: RonBee's

    Thank you, Ron.
    Perhaps I should have theorized less, rather rely on intuition. But I'm still disoriented. How about very pleased then? Or should I also say much pleased? Are there any guidelines?

  4. RonBee's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: very obliged vs much obliged

    Yes, you can say very pleased. No doubt about it. Also, much pleased is used, as is very much pleased.


    Last edited by RonBee; 01-Feb-2009 at 13:28. Reason: add italics

  5. siegfried_rus's Avatar

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    #5

    Re: RonBee's 2nd reply

    Thanks again Ron.
    I didn't know the intensifiers may sometimes be used alternatively. As to very much, I didn't even mention the combination as I was aware it's merely derivative of the much case, in terms of grammar.
    Yet, I'm still hoping there are some hints that may help discriminate. Obliged, pleased are random examples of the -ed predicative pattern. One may also be/get/feel (etc.) disappointed, scared, flattered, confused, ashamed, etc. I suspect glad, afraid, even mad used to be verb passives way back...

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: RonBee's 2nd reply

    Quote Originally Posted by siegfried_rus View Post
    ... I'm still hoping there are some hints that may help discriminate. Obliged, pleased are random examples of the -ed predicative pattern. One may also be/get/feel (etc.) disappointed, scared, flattered, confused, ashamed, etc. I suspect glad, afraid, even mad used to be verb passives way back...
    You're certainly right about "afraid". 'Affray' is a noun in current English, but it used to be a verb - which I've only met in a traditional carol:

    This did Herod sore affray
    And grievously bewilder...
    ('This' was the news that the King of the Jews was about to be born - recounted in the previous verse - 'did H sore affray' means 'made H badly afraid'.

    b

  7. siegfried_rus's Avatar

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    #7

    Re: BobK's

    Thank you for a detailed and most informative input.
    I would be still happier if I was given some tool to make the right choice (if there is one at all, of course). Or maybe ginen a link to a web resource to the same end.
    P.S. You live in South-East England. Is it the area that could also be called Anglia? This is, by the way, how England is called in my country. Is it true that RP is based on, or originates from, SE England? It's important for me as RP is what makes English sound the most beautiful in the world, French only coming next. I was fascinated with the way English sounded the first time I heard it in my childhood (and it was RP, no doubt). And from then on I was determined to only learn English as my first foreign language. The same aesthetic feeling, not pragmatic reasons, later motivated me to learn Hungarian and, to a large degree, Polish.
    Last edited by siegfried_rus; 01-Feb-2009 at 18:03. Reason: spelling errors

  8. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: very obliged vs much obliged

    See below -

  9. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: very obliged vs much obliged

    Quote Originally Posted by siegfried_rus View Post
    I recently had a doubt when having to choose between I'd be very obliged and I'd be much obliged in my writing. I finally opted for the first pattern, very obliged, as my guess is that obliged (like pleased and the like) is usually used, in combination with link-verbs, predicatively, which is closer to attributive use rather than functioning as a passive of a verb proper. That is, it's an attribute denoting a state. requiring very as intensifier. rather than an action verb, the latter requiring much as intensifier. Is my guess correct in principle?
    Thanks in advance for help.
    Really, I'd take either one. Much obliged is an idiom that means thank you, so it's not a perfect fit. Very obliged actually means extremely obligated, which isn't a perfect fit, either. However, the sense comes through effectively either way, so I wouldn't fault either.

    [I am a copy editor and have been a university writing tutor.]

  10. siegfried_rus's Avatar

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    #10

    Re: Charlie Bernstein's

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Really, I'd take either one. Much obliged is an idiom that means thank you, so it's not a perfect fit. Very obliged actually means extremely obligated, which isn't a perfect fit, either. However, the sense comes through effectively either way, so I wouldn't fault either.
    Thank you for your input ("much obliged"). You made me look at the matter otherwise. From what you write, I gather the latter use, requiring very, is closer to my case, even if not a perfect fit. Originally, it was a polite request: I'd be very/much obliged if you sent me (...), which rehabilitates me in my choice of very. But on the other hand, your explanation undermines my general assumption, which is most grievous... Well, I'll have to look elsewhere for another general explanation
    Last edited by siegfried_rus; 02-Feb-2009 at 22:48. Reason: typo

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