A whale is no more a fish than a horse is

NoKal

Member
Korean
"A whale is no more a fish than a horse is"

I think it descrbies 'A horse is no fish(we already know it)' and 'A whale is "hell" no fish'
It means the degree of 'A whale is not a fish' is greater than 'A horese is not a fish'

but some teachers said the difference between the two is the same

Which one do you think is correct?
1. the same
2. this sentence is for an emphasis on 'a whale is not a fish'
so, 'a whale is not a fish' is greater than 'a horse is not a fish'
,which surely means both are not a fish.

Thank you all. :)
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think you are taking this idiomatic construction too literally.

    We know that a horse is not a fish. Similarly, a whale isn't a fish either.

    He is no more a teacher than I am
    .
    (It simply means that neither of us is a teacher.)
     

    Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think it means a little more that that.

    I suggest the wording means "A whale is no more a fish than a horse even though it may appear to be very like one."

    Similarly "he is no more a teacher than I am even though he may think he is".
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The sentence combines two statements: a whale is nothing like or not like a fish + a horse is nothing like or not like a fish.
    The main emphasis is on the whale, but it is not saying that either a horse or a whale is more like a fish than the other. They are both unlike fish.

    O course, a whale is more like a fish because it lives under water, but that is not the point.
    I agree with velisarius.
     

    Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    I disagree. A whale is sufficiently like a fish that some people would wrongly say it was one. This happened in a recent TV quiz show in England.
     

    NoKal

    Member
    Korean
    Thank you all for making opinions, Velisarius, e2efour and retired-teacher.
    Velisarius and e2efour said they are the same, and retired-teacher said they has more information, which I think that depends on context.
    I really appreciate your opinions, thanks again.

    As we all know, the fact whether a whale is a fish or a mammal is not the point.

    In my opinion,

    He has no more money than 500 dollars
    He has no less money than 500 dollars

    The amount of money he has is not the same as 500 dollars, right?

    They two look like almost the same but are not equally the same,

    and back to our sentence

    'a unicorn is no more a fish than a horse is'

    Do you think they are still all the same?

    Please more opionions :)

    Thank you.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    If you are offended with my poor english,
    please take account of that I am an ESL person. :)
     

    Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    The fact that a whale is a mammal and not a fish is the whole point.

    There is no point in saying "a unicorn is no more a fish than a horse" because it is blatantly obvious. The whole point of "a whale is no more a fish than a horse" is that it is, in a way, trying to educate.
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    We're happy to be answering your question, NoKal.:)

    This kind of statement may be used to refute someone else's assumption, but it's the context that "adds information" (the assumed similarity that leads to a mistaken assertion).

    - Everyone knows that a whale is a fish. It swims in the sea, doesn't it?:rolleyes:
    - That's beside the point. A whale is no more a fish than a horse is.

    - I know Bill Johnson. He's an English teacher isn't he? He's always going on about about other people's grammatical errors
    - Pff! He's no more a teacher than I am!

    I agree that it is more emphatic and indignant than a simple "It most certainly isn't" or "No he's not" would be.
     

    NoKal

    Member
    Korean
    Hello, again!
    Retired-teacher, velisarius!

    You both are saying that the point of sentence is trying to educate, repute.
    And What Retired-teacher said the sentence connotes the meaning of 'even though'
    It is clear to me now.
    I didn't know where exactly this kind of sentences, and you two taught me!
    Thank you all!

    Velisarius, could I understand that you now agree with me that the sentence is more like "Hell no" than not like just "No?"
    Do I misunderstand?
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    He has no more money than 500 dollars
    He has no less money than 500 dollars

    The amount of money he has is not the same as 500 dollars, right?
    Unfortunately, you are confusing this no more (which is about a quantity) with the comparison of similarity in the sentence about the whale.
    To say that someone has no more than 500 dollars means that they only have this amount.
    To say She is no more French than I am is a different kind of sentence, meaning that she certainly is not French.
     

    NoKal

    Member
    Korean
    Good to see you again, e2efour!

    OK, I got the point of what you are saying
    I have some examples here.

    A. He has no more money than I do (O)
    => He surely has no money. (surely I don't have any money)

    B. He has no more than 500 dollars. (O)
    => He has as much money as 500 dollars

    C. He has no more money than 500 dollars. (X)
    => THIS IS WRONG SENTENCE.

    Isn't this what you are trying to teach me?
    How kind you are.
    Thanks a lot for your opinion.
     
    Last edited:

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hi, NoKal!

    Just to make sure that you understand the no more sentences (where the meaning is not not more), have you read these two threads with examples?
    1) He is no more young than I am.?
    2) Mike is no more handsome than Jack.

    The important point is that there must be a comparison of two or three people or things. The usual pattern is X is no more <adjective or noun> than Y or (as in your original example) X is no more <adjective phrase, e.g. like Z> than Y.
    With adjectives that form the comparitive with -er, the meaning is to be taken literally.
    Example: He is no richer than me/I am. This is not an example of the structure we are talking about.
    If you say instead, He is no more rich than me/I am, you get the meaning neither of us are rich OR He is definitely not rich.

    In A. you have introduced a similar phrase with have.
    He has no more money than I do. This works in the sense neither of us have any/much money. But the sense can be more literal (meaning that we both have the same amount of money, large or small). This literal sense can also be expressed by He doesn't have any more money than I do.

    In B. is a simple statement with no comparison with another person. The meaning is as you describe.

    Sentence C. is a little strange and without a context I am not sure what it means.
     
    Last edited:

    NoKal

    Member
    Korean
    Thank you for giving more information.
    I read the two threads that you recommended.

    Thanks to you, I think I am almost close to the answer.
    Have a nice day :)
     

    alohafromjapan

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    1)A whale is no more a fish than a horse is.

    Can I paraphase..

    2)A whale is not a fish any more than a horse is.
    or
    3)A whale is not any more a fish than a horse is.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    2) is fine.

    3) is not a good idea, since “not any more” is a poor substitution for the nicely idiomatic “no more” in version 1). It’s normally used to mean “never again” or “no longer”, as in: “I used to think he was a good boss, but not any more!”.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top