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Much different

Since returning to the US, the phrase “much different” has come to my attention by grating on my ear. The way I see it, different is not a comparative adjective like “better” or “taller” and you can’t use “much.” “Really” and “very” only. Comments?

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I noticed it too. It is probably influenced by the use of 'much' with 'difference', ie, 'there is not much difference'. Thus sprang 'it is not much different'. English is like that.

petescully December 5, 2005, 9:06am

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extremely apt point

degustibus December 5, 2005, 9:03pm

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I think it only works in the negative.

It doesn't seem much different.
X It does seem much different.

But I wouldn't use it in an essay.

jon December 6, 2005, 8:50pm

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Reminds me why I found the Janet Jackson song "Miss You Much" so bothersome. It's not standard English to say "I miss you much". "I don't miss you much", yes. But not in the affirmative. "I miss you a lot" is what I'd say...

Justin December 7, 2005, 2:46am

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Like comparatives, "different" freely combines with "any" or "no", eg:

Is he any different today? (Is he any better?)
He is no different today? (He is no better.)

This may be part of the explanation. This goes for "different THAN" as well.

juha December 7, 2005, 12:52pm

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But oddly enough, Justin, when you qualify much in the affirmative it works: "I love you very much", "I miss you very much".

CK November 2, 2006, 12:50pm

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Yes     No