A search in playphrase.me for “so much as” reveals the following 3 most common collocations/multi-word units containing negative meaning or being surrounded with negation:
The phrase “without so much as a” means “not even the slightest amount of“. In the example above, it emphasizes that the speaker let his wife throw him out of the house without even protesting or complaining the slightest bit. He did not say or do anything to try to stop her.
Similarly, the phrase can be used with other nouns as well, such as “without so much as a word” or “without so much as a glance”. It can also be used in negative sentences, such as “I didn’t hear so much as a peep from him”.
The phrase “If you so much as + VERB” means “if you even do the smallest action” or “if you do no more than a smallest action.” In the sentence above, the speaker is possibly threatening to kill the person if they even come close to the Countess. The phrase “so much as” is used to emphasize the speaker’s seriousness and to make it clear that they will not tolerate any kind of approach to the Countess. Verbs like ‘touch, look, breathe’ tend to be considered as short or small actions.
Here are some other future conditional examples of how the phrase “If you so much as” can be used as a threat:
- If you so much as touch my car, I’ll call the police.
- If you so much as look at my wife again, I’ll kill you.
- If you so much as breathe a word of this to anyone, you’ll regret it.
The phrase “so much as” can also be used in a more positive way, to mean “even if you do something negative” For example:
- I’ll love you even if you so much as gain a hundred pounds.
- I’ll support you even if you so much as fail your exams.
- I’ll be there for you even if you so much as make a mistake.
In these cases, the phrase “so much as” is used to emphasize the speaker’s unconditional love or support.
The phrase “not so much as” means that something is less than or not even something else. It is used to emphasize how small or insignificant something is. In the example above, it means that the person has never had any legal trouble, not even a minor one.
The phrase “in as much as” means “to the extent that” or “in view of the fact that.” In the sentence above, the speaker is saying that they are making a start on something because they are going to have the title and lands that they have been promised.
The phrase “in as much as” can also be used to introduce a reason or explanation. In this case, the speaker is explaining why they are making a start. They are making a start because they have been promised the title and lands, and they believe that this is a good time to do so.
In the iWeb corpus “much” is tagged at these frequencies:
“Much” is most often a determiner or pronoun. 1 MUCH (DA1) 4843000
“Much” is also commonly used as an adverb. 2 MUCH (RR) 2568351
3 MUCH (RR32) 38500
SO MUCH AS = This complex adverbial phrase is unlisted in the English Vocabulary Profile. Some uses include:
To emphasize that someone did not even do a minimal action, e.g. “He didn’t so much as say hello”.
To introduce an alternative or contrast, e.g. “It’s not so much as a question of money as of principle”.
The following is positive emphasis that does not refer to a minimal action or alternative or contrast:
4 MUCH (CS43) 4726
IN AS MUCH AS = Unlisted complex subordinating conjunction and it is very rarely used.
This phrase introduces a dependent clause that explains the reason or extent of something in the main clause. For example:
- I respect him in as much as he is honest and hardworking.
- She was happy in as much as she had a loving family.
Not all examples of this multi-word unit have the same meaning and use:
In the above example, “as much as” means “up to.” So, the sentence is saying that the new concrete can store up to four times more carbon than traditional concrete.