But his money would not last forever; and as he spent and gave away a great deal daily, and received none, he found himself at last with only two shillings left. So he was obliged to leave his elegant rooms, and live in a little garret under the roof, where he had to clean his own boots, and even mend them with a large needle. None of his friends came to see him, He found the tinder-box, but no sooner had he struck a few sparks from the flint and steel, than the door flew open and the dog with eyes as big as teacups, whom he had seen while down in the tree, stood before him, and said, “What orders, master?”

“Hallo,” said the soldier; “well this is a pleasant tinderbox, if it brings me all I wish for.”
“Bring me some money,” said he to the dog.

He was gone in a moment, and presently returned, carrying a large bag of coppers in his mouth. The soldier had now plenty of money; he returned to his elegant rooms, and reappeared in his fine clothes, so that his friends knew him again directly, and made as much of him as before.

"made as much of him as before", this part...

What is the subject of that part? The soldier or his friends?

Thanks for your help in advance.

1 Answer 1


From Oxford:

Give or ascribe a significant amount of attention or importance to.

There's two factors in your example that complicate it. The first is how phrasal verbs don't always "stick together" when you have adverbs in there. Not only did they "make much of him", but they did it "as much ... as before". Interactions between set phrases of any sort with modifications like averbials or adjections, or prepositions, can be hard to figure out. In this case the rule is to treat the whole thing as if the words were taking normal, independent meanings - and then the reader recognises that the familiar phrase is there, just something has been interpolated into it.

The second complication that making much of someone is a little more specific than giving attention or importance. That's a fine meaning where it's something, but not someone. Attention, yes, and praise, and doing things for them, and so on. When someone, an adult, lives away from their family and comes to visit, they will often be made much of, with their parents cooking their favourite meals and so on. Of course, some families act very differently from that, but that's a whole other subject.

The "making much of" here is unlikely to be so significant, but the overall sense is that, once he had fine clothes and money again, his friends thought well of him, enjoyed spending time with him, gave him attention etc - just as they did before.

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