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I think I sometimes hear sentences like "Much as I think ..." or "Soon as he ...". I'm not certain, but when the "as adj. as" form comes at the beginning of the sentence, people sometimes omit the first as in informal speech. Did I hear correctly?

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  • That 'as' is essential and cannot be removed, and I am not aware of any dialect that does so in speech. Possibly you misheard. Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 15:26
  • @MichaelHarvey I was quite sure I head it somewhere (youtu.be/N6cfFnBNELs?t=62), although it seems not common?
    – xiver77
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 15:40
  • See my answer below, which came after you accepted a previous one, but which I think may be clearer. Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 19:01

2 Answers 2

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Seems fine to me, if a bit informal (which is expected for speech). Here are some other examples:

Much as we might hate it, negative ads work. (Blog comment)

Soon as the sun rises, we'll be completely exposed. (TV: The Last Ship)

Found via COCA: much, soon.

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There is a difference between the two usages you have identified:

Much as is a normal, correct, not informal equivalent of 'even though'. The speaker in the video says 'Much as I think he's a knob, I quite like working with Jeremy [Clarkson]'. There is no missing first 'as'.

Much as (Cambridge Dictionary)

It should not be, although it sometimes is, confused with the similar 'as much as something' used to compare two things or ideas and expressing them to be equivalent. For example I admire Michael for his good looks as much as for his integrity.

As soon as is an expression used to express that one thing follows another thing in time very soon, or instantly: As soon as the thief saw the police officer, he started to run. In casual or informal speech, the first 'as' is sometimes omitted.

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  • "(As) Much as I think he's a knob, I quite like working with Jeremy" = "I quite like working with Jeremy as much as I think he's a knob". The speaker is comparing Jeremy being a knob and working with Jeremy.
    – xiver77
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 19:21
  • @xiver77 - it doesn't work like that. Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 19:35
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    @xiver77 see Cambridge Dictionary: "much as" is an idiom meaning "although"
    – Esther
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 21:14
  • @Esther Wouldn't it make sense to think that the idiom came from shortening "as much as"? The sentence in Cambridge dictionary looks fine with "as" IMO - "(As) much as I would like to help you, I'm simply too busy at the moment."
    – xiver77
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 21:20
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    @xiver77 It's possible that's where the idiom came from, but at this point it stands on its own and the omission of the first "as" is not informal or slang. Contrast with the second example, where omitting the first "as* is informal, since "soon as" is not an idiom of its own.
    – Esther
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 21:44

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