# no more than

< Previous | Next >

#### Yichen

##### Senior Member
Hello all,

"He is _____ fifteen years old" means "He is fifteen years old."
A. not less than
B. not more than
C. no less than
D. no more than
Key: D
source: a grammar book by a Chinese professor

I am not too sure about these structures as shown by A, B, C and D.
The following is how I see them:
I think A & C basically mean the same thing, and B & D are basically the same, too.
However, C & D have a strong sense of a personal opinion. Take D for an example,
if you had promised to give me 100 books, but in fact you just gave me about 20,
I would then probably say,"it's no more than 20 books.". It means,
I was not satisfied with the number of the books, because it was not up to my expectation.
Option C is an analogical but somewhat contrary case with D.
On the other hand, I think these kinds of structures depend a lot on the comparison basis.
"It's no more than 20 books" , as a stand alone sentence, from which we can't decide whether
the "20 books" is enough or not for the speaker's expectation. We don't know the comparison basis.

My question,
"He is no more than fifteen years old"
I don't think it can be used as solidly as a rock to mean "He is fifteen years old."
We can only tell the maximal age of "He" is 15. Or a way around, he is at least 15 years old.
So,
Of A, B, C and D, though I will pick D, I think they are all possible.
What if I pick the other three?

What do you think of the topic question?

Many many thanks.

• #### boozer

##### Senior Member
A. factual information given by someone who knows his age. If 15-year-olds are allowed to see that film, he can see it too, because he is not 14.
B. factual information given by someone who knows his age. If 15-year-olds are allowed to use the water slide, he can too, because he is not 16
C. he looks older than 15 of age, or at least 15 years old
D. he looks younger than 15 of age, or 15 years old at most

#### Tyrion Lann

##### Senior Member
He isn't ___ fifteen years old.
A. less than: ( I'm sure) the minimum age of his would be 15.
B. more than : (I'm sure) the maximum age of his would be 15.

He is _____ fifteen years old.

C. no less than: ( it seems, I can guess) the minimum age of his wouldn't be 15.

D. no more than: ( it seems, I can guess) the maximum age of his wouldn't be 15.

#### sound shift

##### Senior Member
I think it's a very poor question.
Some of the options are ambiguous, context-dependent - but it's still difficult to concoct a context that would admit the meaning "He is fifteen years old."

#### boozer

##### Senior Member
I think it's a very poor question.

Of course it is! So poor that I forgot to mention it. It is an interesting issue, but as a grammar/vocabulary exercise it is awful.

#### Yichen

##### Senior Member
I felt suspicious of the options, but at the same time, I wondered if there exists a "common element" (15 years old) that can make them work.

#### boozer

##### Senior Member
He may be 15 in all cases. That does not mean that he is 15.

< Previous | Next >