Not even X, much more Y [was: re: gill (verb) = laugh]

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Aug 8 21:23:46 UTC 2001

>  ... "not even x, much less y", though, I thought was
>a frozen collocation, like "let alone", even granting the recent
>tendency to "invert" the scales for the "much less" and "let alone"
>constructions.  It's not a confused meaning that's weird in the
>Parkins line as much as the form--do you have actual citations for
>"not even x much more y"?

I'm sure I've seen it several times in modern writing ... although of
course it's more likely when the expression is confusingly broken up with

Here is a bald example of the construction (without the "even"), taken from
the Web -- -- quoting
a 1903 book which apparently quotes in turn a journal from 1776:

<<... De Jeane came and told me to get up and walk to the dungeon from
whence I came. I told him I was unable: "Crawl then you damn'd rebel, or I
will make you." I told him he might do as he pleased, but I could not
stand, much more walk: On this he called a party of soldiers, who tossed me
into a cart and carried me to the dungeon ....>>

Here is an apparently recent Web example --

<<He sputtered, but he could not tear his gaze from the monster, much more,


The confusion might arise in part from the converse (positive) expression
(of "not [even] X, much less Y") -- i.e., "[even] Y, much more X". This is
quite rare, at least in modern writing, I think, but I believe this is an
example -- from MoA (Michigan) -- from Cornelius Walker, "The life and
correspondence of Rev. William Sparrow, D.D." (1876):

<<Out of the abundance of the heart we act, much more speak.>>

And here's a Web example --,2576,2106,00.html -- which is a
little different but again correct (I think) -- from 1848:

<<Before our halt at noon Archibald Williams drove his Wagon over a sick
Sheep. Both wheels passed over his body. Brother John Hughes picked it up,
laid hands on it, when it walked away apparently well. It was to me a
miracle to see it stand up, much more walk away.>>

-- Doug Wilson

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