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I see TheFreeDictionary gives one of the meanings of "dedicate" to be

give entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause

, in which "entirely" implies totality without any reserved. So is adding any quantifier to modify "dedicate" or its object improper? For example, is it improper to say

"I dedicated myself much to Quantum Mechanics during my MSc studies."

But the same dictionary also gives another meaning of "dedicate" to be

To set apart for a special use

Then if this meaning is taken, it seems to be OK to modify "dedicate" or its object by a quantifier; thus my example above seems to be proper. But in this dictionary I don't see any example of the kind involving "dedicate oneself" with a quantifier, nor do I see one in Oxford Dictionaries; the examples of "dedicate" used for this kind of meaning I see with a quantifier are "dedicate time, attention, effort or life", as illustrated by

She is now dedicating most of her time and attention to the completion of her fist novel.

It would be good for more effort to be dedicated to training to help build capacities of the nations in managing fauna and flora species.

I met many people who dedicated much of their efforts to assist in the planning of the anti-hate demonstration.

The ceremony was a very simple and moving commemoration of a life totally dedicated to aikido.

So I wonder whether "dedicate oneself" can be used together with a quantifier.

  • Much would not be correct. I've heard partially, a little bit and a great deal of. But never much. So, in general, some quantifiers can sometimes be used. – Jason Bassford May 5 '19 at 15:54
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It sounds as though you have done good research, and have largely found the conclusion. There is no reason one could not "dedicate oneself" using the second definition you gave, with or without quantifiers. In practice, these quantifiers are, where present, usually moderating ("I dedicated myself somewhat to the pursuit of painting"), as the phrase itself is a rather strong statement. You will sometimes see the opposite, with extreme or hyperbolic quantifiers, in the intent of making it clear that it is the first, and not the second, definition being used: "I dedicated myself entirely to the destruction of that creature."

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  • So my example is fine? Am I overdubious so that I consider writing that way may be improper? – Captain Bohemian Jun 2 '19 at 16:33
  • Your example is fine, although unusual. That specific quantifier feels archaic and is not really necessary, as "dedicate" already implies the significance of the decision; adding "much" doesn't add much. – Ryan Jensen Jun 3 '19 at 16:05
  • But my purpose of adding "much" is also to moderate "dedicated myself" as I want to express I didn't dedicate myself completely to Quantum Mechanics during my MSc studies—during that period, I also spent time studying other subjects; however, compared to other subjects, I spent relatively far more time studying Quantum Mechanics. – Captain Bohemian Jun 6 '19 at 5:46
  • I recognize that; however, when used in this context, that is already what "dedicated myself" means; it is implicit that you did other things as well. The level of dedication communicated by "dedicated myself much" is almost exactly the same as "dedicated myself." Both are significant but not entire devotion to the named pursuit. – Ryan Jensen Jun 10 '19 at 15:25

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