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According to dictionaries the phrase "much as" can mean either "even though" or "in a similar way". As these two meanings are almost opposite, I was wondering on the basis of what principles should one decide which definition fits better?

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Context. You should be able to work out which is which in these sentences:

"Much as I would like to believe you, I do not."  
"He dodged the questions much as a rabbit would dodge a pursuing fox."
  • Thank you. The problem is that it might not always be that obvious. For example consider this sentence: "Much as I hate chocolate, I can't resist a chocolate cake!" – user1555 Sep 10 '13 at 15:29
  • Well, in this case, what is your hating of chocolate similar to? Nothing. So this is meaning one: although I hate chocolate I can't resist the cake. I hate chocolate much as I hate strawberries is meaning two: I hate chocolate and I also hate strawberries. – BobRodes Sep 10 '13 at 15:37
  • Wouldn't my sentence also convey this meaning? "As much as I like chocolate cake, I hate chocolate"? – user1555 Sep 10 '13 at 15:50
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    Now you're managing to run the two meanings together a little bit. This sentence is a bit ambiguous, because "as much as" can mean "much as" in the first sense or a statement of equivalence. Removing the first "as" would resolve in favor of meaning 1; changing the word order would resolve in favor of meaning 2: "I hate chocolate as much as I like chocolate cake." To say "I hate chocolate much as I like chocolate cake" wouldn't make a great deal of sense; you're saying that your hatred of chocolate and your liking of chocolate cake are similar. – BobRodes Sep 10 '13 at 16:24

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