alternatives of "no more than"


Senior Member
Which does NOT fill in the blank in (1b)?

(1) a. Between 1995 and 2004, no more than three choking game deaths were reported each year.
b. Instead of "no more than," we can use "________" without making any significant difference in meaning.

(a) at most (b) as many as (c) as few as (d) only

I think it is (c) and that all the other four alternatives mean the same thing as "no more than."
Do you agree?

We know this: Between 1995 and 2007, 82 people died as a result of playing the "choking game." And (1) comes from this:Between 1995 and 2004, no more than three choking game deaths were reported each year. In 2005, however, the number jumped to 22 and, in 2006, it reached 35. In the first 10 months of 2007, the number was down to 9. Exactly why these trends occurred is unclear, but the CDC believes they probably underestimate the true incidence.(Reuters Feb. 14, 2008)

Thank you in advance
  • cropje_jnr

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    A has the same meaning, whilst C and D are similar, but emphasise that this is not a very large figure. They also imply that the figure was exactly three, whereas "no more than" and "at most" suggest the figure could be less than three.

    To me, B has an entirely different meaning, and emphasises the size of the figure.


    Senior Member
    American English
    C does not fit.

    'no more than' means 3 or fewer. 'as few as' means 3 or more.

    B does not fit with the context of the sentence, which is emphasizing how few the number is compared to the subsequent figure.

    D seems to limit the number to exactly three.

    So A would be the best fit, in my opinion.
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