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"not all that" vs "not very"

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"not all that" vs "not very"

Postby dsteve54 » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:38 am

We typically (at least in common parlance) say the following:

"I (really) don't go shopping all that much."

and

"I (really) don't go shopping very much."

I can see both scenarios in the New Oxford American Dictionary; however, I am not sure if one is considered more informal than the other. Or are they both proper English?

Furthermore, if they are both legal, are they semantically equivalent, or does one have a nuance lacking in the other?

I was trying to explain the two phrases to a Russian in Russian, no less, and I began to doubt my own sanity. I found myself rehearsing both phrases over and over to see if one "seemed better" than the other.

At any rate, I would appreciate any comment about this matter.
Known in restaurant circles by quasi-Thai moniker, "That Guy" (e.g. heard in the back.."that guy is here again"; "that guy on/at table 10"; "that guy is going for a sirloin again", etc.)

Half the distance in half the states...from half2run.com
dsteve54
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Postby Slava » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:29 pm

I'd say "all that much" is used more in defense, "not very" is simply a statement.

As in,

Q. How much do you drink?

A1. I don't drink very much.
A2. I don't drink all that much.

A1 - statement of fact, doesn't drink much.
A2 - could go either way, but comes off as defensive. "What, you think I drink too much? I don't drink all that much."

Ne ochen' mnogo/chasto, or even simply malo.

As compared to: ne tak uzh mnogo/chasto.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Postby dsteve54 » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:39 pm

Very good. Thank you!

For some reason, I just could not frame the situations myself. But your comment clarifies them for me.

As a bonus, thank you for the Russian versions! I was trying to decide if the one would involve "все так" or "так уж", and you were able to provide that for me.
Known in restaurant circles by quasi-Thai moniker, "That Guy" (e.g. heard in the back.."that guy is here again"; "that guy on/at table 10"; "that guy is going for a sirloin again", etc.)

Half the distance in half the states...from half2run.com
dsteve54
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:26 pm
Location: USA (Fort Collins, Colorado)


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