any more than the speed of sound

SuprunP

Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
The crack of a whip is due to its tip moving faster than the speed of sound. It makes a shock wave, a small sonic boom in the Italian countryside. A thunder clap has a similar origin. [The sound of a supersonic airplane has a similar origin as well] So why is the speed of light a barrier, any more than the speed of sound?
(Cosmos; Journeys In Space And Time; Carl Sagan)

Would you be so kind to paraphrase this bit/sentence a little, since I'm not sure how it works here?

Thanks.




 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It is a little bit odd - 'any more than' shouldn't quite work like that, should it? The meaning is clear, and I can't argue with Sagan's way of writing it, but I can understand that it seems illogical. If something could travel faster than light, we'd say the speed of light is not a barrier, no more than the speed of sound; or any more than the speed of sound (is). One is not, and nor is the other. 'Any more than' is happier when the two are parallel, not when, as here, they are not comparable in the same way.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It seems okay to me.

    Another example
    Why is John clever any more than Joe is. ---> Why is John any more clever than Joe is. ---> Why is John any cleverer than Joe is.

    Does that help?

    EDIT
    Would it help to rewrite as follows:

    So why is the speed of light any more of a barrier, than the speed of sound? [In my opinion the 'of' is optional]
     
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