1. He is much loved.

2. He is much interesting.

3. Your thoughts were much appreciated.

4. This is a much needed development.

5. His face is much red.

6. It was a very stimulating discussion.

7. It was a much stimulating discussion.

If 1, 3, 4, 6, why not 2, 5, 7?

 2 3 4 5 6 7 » 21
OK, I'll bite-- the unstruck with 'much' are all passives?
I'm really getting mad!!! Can't get it!Emotion: angry
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That's what puzzles me, MM: why is it ok with past but not present participles?

Are past participles somehow gradable or non-count, since they imply completion; while present participles aren't?

(Little Cloud, I share your emoticon...)

In Webster's Third New International Dictionary I found a usage note for the adverbial much:

[In the sense of] VERY -- usu. used with adjectival past participles "much interested", "much pleased by the compliment", "much gratified" and in negative constructions "not much good at all".

And in The American Heritage Dictionary I found the following discussion of the use of very and much:

Very (adverb) is sometimes employed to qualify directly a past participle used predicatively in passive constructions: He was very tired ( or very discouraged). This usage is now generally acceptable when the participle is felt to have the nature of an adjective, as in the foregoing example. In general, if the participle is defined separately as an adjecive or if it functions readily as an adjective in other contexts, it may usually be preceded by very. When the participle in question does not meet such tests and consequently remains essentially a verb form, it is generally preferable to replace very with very much, much, greatly, or a like term that fits the sentence at hand. As an example in writing, the following is accepted by 86 percent of the Usage Panel: He seemed very worried. The remaining examples, however, are termed unacceptable in writing by the percentages indicated: She was very disliked by her students (by 87 percent). Call us if you are very delayed (by 85 percent). We were very inconvenienced by it (by 80 percent). Preferable phrasings include much (or greatly) disliked; delayed much or seriously delayed; much (or very much) inconvenienced.

Of course very can be used to modify regular adjectives.

1. He is much loved. (The use of much -- in the sense of very -- with an adjectival past participle.)
2. He is very interesting. (The use of very with a regular adjective, not an adjectival past participle.)
3. Your thoughts were much appreciated. (The use of much -- in the sense of very -- with an adjectival past participle.)
4. This a much needed development. (The use of much -- in the sense of very -- with an adjectival past participle.)
5. His face is very red. (The use of very with a regular adjective.)
6. It was a very stimulating discussion. (The use of very with an (adjectival) present participle.)

In summary, I would say that it is usage, not logic, that dictates what is acceptable.
I told this to my older sister, not everything and not so perfectly, but she told me it was not possible!!! Thanks for the explanaitian: I'm going to wake her up and let her see!! Ah! Ah! Ah!
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That explenation made it so clear, thanks RVW.
In summary, I would say that it is usage, not logic, that dictates what is acceptable.
Yes; and it's the usage that puzzles me.

Did the usage evolve because of a difference in the nature of 'much' and 'very', or a difference in the nature of present and past participles?

A present participle when used as an adjective tends to have an explicit agent and implicit object:

1. He's an interesting chap. [Agent, 'he'; object e.g. 'me'.]

2. We had a very stimulating discussion. [Agent, 'the discussion'; semantic object 'we'.]

A past participle in the same situation tends to have an implicit agent; while the semantic object tends to be the subject of the clause:

3. He was a much-loved friend and companion. [Agent: 'others'; semantic object, 'he'.]

4. He is much discussed in literary circles. [ditto]

If we then turn to our near-complementary friends 'very' and 'much', we find that 'very' is used mostly as an intensifier, with little reference to its original meaning ('truly'); while 'much' still retains much of its literal quantitative nature.

It seems to me that 2 and 2 are simply waiting to be put together. But not in this post, unfortunately.

I think the following article from Webster's Dictionary of English Usage answers some of our questions.

very 1. "Very" and the past participle. Fitzedward Hall 1873 cited a Professor Maximilian Muller as asserting that expressions like "very pleased" and "very delighted" were Americanisms. Hall refuted the assertion, quoting "very concerned" from 1760 and other similar 18th- and 19th-century examples, all British. Hall's comment are the earliest that we know of in which interest is expressed in the combination of very with an adjective formed from a past participle. By the time of Vizetelly 1906, the question had become one of propriety; making exception for those participles established as adjectives, he found that "it is now thought more grammatical to interpose an adverb between the participle" and very. Similar advice has since appeared in many usage books. The adverb most often recommended was and is much.

The reasoning involved in this issue is easy enough to follow. Very by itself does not modify verbs, and therefore it cannot modify the past participle of a verb. [Emphasis added.] The crux of the matter, then, is whether the past participle is simply a participle or whether it is an adjective. On this point many commentators are uncertain.

Fowler 1926 sets down four criteria for determining whether very can be used before a given participle. The first is the consideration of whether the participle has become an established adjective, a judgment which would seem to be highly subjective. The other three criteria are supposed to help in cases where the participle is not an established adjective. If the participle is being used attributively rather than predicatively ("a very worried expression" rather than "he was very worried"), it is functioning as an adjective and can be modified by very. If the noun or pronoun modified by the participle names "the person or thing on which the verbal action is exercised" rather than some aspect or feature of that person or thing ("he was very worried" rather than "his expression was very worried"), then the participle is functionaing as a verb and requires much. And finally, if the "verbal character" of the participle is "betrayed" by a preposition such as by ("very worried by what he had heard"), much is again required. So says Fowler.

Where Fowler's ratiocination goes astray becomes evident when we consider the distinguishing criteria for adjectives given in Quirk et al. 1984. Quirk identifies four criteria for adjectives: attributive use, predicative use after the verb seem, premodification by very, and comparison. Quirk knows that not every adjective meets all four criteria, but some combination of them will usually serve to distinguish an adjective from an adverb or a participle.

The problem for the critics, then, is that they are trying to pass judgment on the propriety of what is, in fact, a distinguishing characteristic of the adjective as opposed to the participle -- premodification by very. Copperud 1970, 1980, Evans 1957, and Flesch 1964, who would allow very wherever it does not offend the ear, are on the right track. And time has made Fowler wrong: his examples of very annoyed and very concerned do not illustrate misuses of very but are in fact evidence that annoyed and concerned are moving or have moved into adjective function.

The movement of past participles into adjective function -- based on evidence of premodification by very -- began in the 17th century; the OED has examples from 1641 on. It is a continuing process. The annoyed and concerned that, when used with very, bothered Fowler sound unexceptionable today. Participles that sound awkward with very today may sound fine in another generation.

You can see for yourself how well established Flowler's offending annoyed is as an adjective by testing it in sample sentences by Quirk's criteria. Attributive use:

-She gave me an annoyed look.

Predicative use with seem:

She seems rather annoyed by the delay.

Premodification by very:

-Rather annoyed? I'd say she's very annoyed.


-She's growing more annoyed by the minute.

You can try similar tests for doubtful participles if you like -- it can even be fun sometimes -- but for practical purposes you are going to have to trust your ear.

Two other points are worth bearing in mind. First, a prepositional phrase with by marking an agent can be an indicator of verbal force:

-She was annoyed by the panhandler.

When this agent is animate, it is a good indicator that the participle is still a participle, and you would not use very as a modifier. But if the agent is not animate, the participle may be an adjective:

-She was very annoyed by your behavior.

Second, many participial adjectives do not take very and do not compare because their meaning is such that they are not what Quirk calls "gradable": they are seldom used in senses that admit of degrees. We have seen that annoyed admits of degrees; but such participles as deceased, defeated, and performed do not. Occasionally, however, participles that are seldom used in a gradable way can be used with very as a stylistic device:

- ...other very famous, very rich, and/or very titled people who live here.

-She offered me a chair in her green-and-white, very decorated office.

Very much can be similarly used:

-The girl in the center was still very much undressed and screamed when she saw the MPs.

Premodification by very is an "explicit indication" (Quirk) that a participle has achieved adjective status. If very sounds all right before a participle to you, that participle is an adjective for your purposes. But since the participle-to-adjective process is still going on, you will have to accept the fact that what is a participial adjective to you may only be a participle to someone else, and vice versa. We leave you with a few typical examples:

-She seemed very attached to her husband.

-Authors are not very interested in this problem.

-Now, I won't be satisfied, in fact I'll be very dissatisfied, if you are not one of the sponsors.

-I am very pleased to know that I can get a quart of mouse milk for under ten dollars.

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