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You use much too in front of an adjective to say that something cannot be done or achieved because someone or something has too much of a quality. In sentences like these you put much in front of too, not after it:

The bedrooms were (much) too cold.

In positive sentences, don't use much without very. Don't say, for example, ‘I enjoyed it much’ or ‘We much agree’

https://www.wordreference.com/EnglishUsage/much

However, the OALD offers examples such as I am very much aware of the fact that I'm not much good at tennis.

Aren't the two authorities contradictory?

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  • "Much" is a special word. It can almost never be used without a modifier, and it accepts a wide variety of modifiers, including negative words like "not" and "never".
    – gotube
    Sep 3, 2021 at 2:33

2 Answers 2

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These are not contradictory. The rule given by word reference is "In positive sentences, don't use much without very"

Very much is an idiom - think of it as a separate word with its own usage rules. There are places where you can use very much where much alone would be ungrammatical.

I'm not much good at tennis. is a sentence with negative polarity, due to the use of not. As this is not a positive sentence, the rule doesn't apply. "I enjoyed it much" is ungrammatical, but "I didn't enjoy it much" is grammatical.

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No. They are not in conflict.

The main clause in your second example is positive. You can grammatically say

am very aware that …

or

am very much aware

but

am much aware

is so rare as to be unidiomatic. See

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=am+very+aware%2C+am+very+much+aware%2C+am+much+aware&year_start=1800&year_end=2019&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cam%20very%20aware%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cam%20very%20much%20aware%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cam%20much%20aware%3B%2Cc0

The subordinate clause in your second example is negative as shown by “not.”

I also point out that the first authority is talking about the phrase “much too” in what are technically positive clauses, a topic not covered by the second authority.

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  • Is much aware grammatical? --> "Grammar Point: Very is used with adjectives, past participles used as adjectives, and adverbs, but notice this use: I’m very much afraid that..." oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/very_1?q=very
    – GJC
    Aug 30, 2021 at 17:36
  • The reason I gave the citation to ngram was to show that phrases like “am much aware” are not totally unknown but are so rare that they may possibly be ungrammatical and are probably unidiomatic. It is impossible to make more than a few hard and fast rules that apply to every dialectical variant of English. Aug 30, 2021 at 18:43

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