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What are the similarities and differences? I tried http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2474929&langid=6 but am contending against the differing opinions.

http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2474929&p=12457352#post12457352 claims:

It sounds wrong without the 'of' unfortunately.

Yet http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2474929&p=12457975#post12457975:

From my BE perspective, two distinct meanings, exactly as KellyB says: Much of the same - most of the things referred to are identical. Much the same = similar.

An example from p 23, Thinking like a Lawyer, Frederick Schauer:

These seventy-one cases were almost all ones in which there was no clear legal answer, and taking these seventy-one as representative of how law works or how rules work would be a major blunder. Very much the same dynamic applies to the cases selected for law school casebooks.

  • You asked exactly the same question on ELU several weeks ago. It was closed as "Unclear", and eventually deleted. Personally, I think this is something of a "non-question". In almost all cases, much of the same is a dated/affected/dialectal variant on much the same (or an erroneous variant of many of the same). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 14 '14 at 15:30
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    Check out this NGram showing the decline of of here, and this NGram showing the rise of the "standard" form. For your purposes, I suggest the only meaningful difference is that one form is less common than the other. Forget the microanalysis. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 14 '14 at 15:33
  • For what it's worth, in "Robots and astronauts use much (of) the same equipment in space.", I read "much of the same" as "most of the same", and "much the same" as "quite the same" or "similar". Your "Very much the same dynamic" is pretty much the same as the latter reading. – Damkerng T. Aug 15 '14 at 12:41
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Just passing, so this is more of an opinion than a fully researched answer. But, with that caveat, while they clearly are used almost interchangeably, there are cases where one is much better fit that the other.

To me, 'much of the same' often implies a specific condition (I usually feel that it should be followed by something - 'much of the same xxxx') whereas 'much the same' tends to be looser or more generalised.

Q: How do you feel?
A: Much the same

Q: What programs are the ABC putting out this season?
A: Much of the same 

Rightly or wrongly (largely out of tradition I suppose) I often turn to the BBC for things like this. A quick search finds:

...although they use much of the same data
...does contain much of the same material
The second half followed much of the same pattern

Against:

The Earth's atmosphere has remained much the same for the past 200 million years. 
...they all look pretty much the same
...and the picture was much the same in Wales
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I have referred to several dictionaries to find the phrase "much of the same" but to no avail. But, in fact, it is in use, though not common. On the other hand, the phrase much the same is usual and common in use. I think there is a little difference in meaning of these phrases.

When we say much the same, we mean almost or exactly the same equipment. However, when we say much of the same equipment, we mean a large amount of the same equipment.

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