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."?
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],
'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".
Sign in to submit your answer
Don't have an account yet? Join today
Test your Spanish to the CEFR standard