The expression "not so much as"

Hi, there

What's the right way of using the expression. "not so much as"? I've seen diferences in speaking and in writing, and I really can't figure it out. For example, I read once "I don't feel angry so much as sad", but I've also heard things like "I didn't see so much see the blast as hear it". I mean, can you split apart "so much as" and use the second verb in its infitive form "hear it" instead of "heard it"?... I've come across this expression. many times, but it doesn't seem to follow any kind of rule. Is it a stylistic matter, or is there any gramar rules behind it? What do you think?

Thank you

Jun 8, 2018 12:34 PM
Comments · 1

The intent of the phrasing is like "not A, but rather B" or "not A, but instead B".

Ex 1: I don't feel angry so much as sad. -> I'm not angry, but instead, I feel sad.

Ex 2: I didn't see so much see the blast as hear it -> I didn't see the blast, but rather, I heard it.

When there's no comparative word (i.e. angry vs. sad, see vs. hear), then it just refers to not doing the least or minimum of something.

He didn't so much as give a cent to his pet charity, even though he pressured everyone to donate. {he gave less than one cent or basically, nothing}

June 8, 2018
Language Skills
English, Portuguese
Learning Language