I have a question about the expression "How much is right to do something?".

Is it correct at all? I mean, when someone proposes me to do something, but I have a doubt about that action I ask "How much is right to do it?". Or should we ask "How much is it right to do it?" or in any other way?

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    You instinct is sound. "How much is right to do something?" is not "idiomatic", compared to "How much is it right to do something?". But much doesn't work very well in such contexts anyway, so "How right is it to do something?" would be better. And personally I think right is a bit of an odd word for a "graded" (as opposed to a binary "right/wrong") context, so I'd prefer an alternative such as "How moral/proper/correct is it [to do that]?". Or "How much should I do it?", if that's the intended meaning. Nov 23, 2014 at 16:16
  • It's not correct because it's not clear what it means. Are you trying to ask to what degree is it right (e.g., expecting answers such as "It's completely right" or "Only Satan himself would do that!") or are you asking how much is the right amount (e.g., expecting answers like "It's best to only do that a little bit" or "Do it as much as you want!")? And do you mean "right" as in "correct" or as in "human rights"? It's possible that the question is really "To what degree do I have the right to do X?" Nov 24, 2014 at 10:29

3 Answers 3


To explore the origin of that it, let's take an example sentence:

Playing practical jokes is acceptable.

In order to ascertain the extent to which it is acceptable to play practical jokes, you first remodel the sentence:

It is acceptable to play practical jokes. (It is a dummy pronoun)

Next, you reverse the subject "it" and the auxiliary verb "is": it is -> is it:

Is it acceptable to play practical jokes?

Next, you add an adverbial phrase, such as "to what extent":

To what extent is it acceptable to play practical jokes?

Or, simply move the adjective "acceptable" in this adverbial position and add "how":

How acceptable is it to play practical jokes?

It a similar vein, your sentence should have that it:

How proper is it to do something?

I changed "right" to "proper" and ditched "much" to comply with FumbleFinger's comments.

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    Interesting step-by-step explanation. I've not thought about that before, thank you. Nov 23, 2014 at 18:07
  • You're welcome, @DmitryFucintv! Nov 23, 2014 at 18:08
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    Nice breakdown. Even as a native speaker I didn't naturally break that down as well as @CopperKettle in my own head. the OP's construction I found disturbing, but wasn't sure how to 'fix' it. Nov 23, 2014 at 19:11

No, it is not correct, as @CopperKettle's answer explains.

However, in your situation:

someone proposes me to do something, but I have a doubt about that action

A more normal way to voice your doubt, asking if it's right to do what they propose, would be to just ask someone:

Is it right [to do that proposed thing]?

Or, to emphasize that

  • someone suggested the action
  • and you doubt it:

Is it really right [to do that proposed thing]?

You can replace "right" with synonyms like "ok", "proper", "acceptable", "correct", etc.

Unless I misunderstood your description of the situation, I think that final example would be the most idiomatic way to say it.


I wouldn't use that phrase at all, but instead say "How much should I do it?"

This flows much better.

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