translating "no tiene mas que" to "not having more than" instead of "only"

JessaC1Kwiziq community member

translating "no tiene mas que" to "not having more than" instead of "only"

Wouldn't it be easier to translate "No tenía más que unas monedas en el bolsillo." to "He didn't have more than a few coins in his pocket." rather than "He only had a few coins in his pocket."? This type of translation would work for the "más que +noun" instances.

Can "No tienes más que decirlo y yo estaré allí para ayudarte." be translated to "You don't have to say anything more than it/that and I will be there to help you." rather than "You just have to say it and I will be there to help you."?


Asked 5 days ago
DavidC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi there Jessa -

'no más que ...' specifically means only: [i.e., it is best to regard that as its standard translation], e.g. -

"J. no compró más que 20 libros' = 'J. bought only 20 books'...

For your alternative suggestions, you need to use 'más de... ' > Compare the above with the following sentence, noting the subtle difference -

"J. no compró más de 20 libros' ~> 'J. did not buy more than 20 books'... [i.e. maybe it was only 18].... 

>>

To help remember [while having a good laugh] it is worth comparing:

'Ella comió más que tres personas' = ' She ate more than three people [would eat],

with:

'Ella comió más de tres personas' ~> 'She is a cannibal, and enjoyed an enormous meal consisting of more than three people !'

From the strictly grammatical point of view, in English [unlike in Spanish] the same sentence could describe either situation: "She ate more than three people".

translating "no tiene mas que" to "not having more than" instead of "only"

Wouldn't it be easier to translate "No tenía más que unas monedas en el bolsillo." to "He didn't have more than a few coins in his pocket." rather than "He only had a few coins in his pocket."? This type of translation would work for the "más que +noun" instances.

Can "No tienes más que decirlo y yo estaré allí para ayudarte." be translated to "You don't have to say anything more than it/that and I will be there to help you." rather than "You just have to say it and I will be there to help you."?


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