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  1. #1
    Seiichi MYOGA is offline Junior Member
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    Default Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.

    According to MED (Macmillan English Dictionary), "no less than" in (1) should mean "as much as."

    (1) used before a number or amount for showing that it is large and surprising: Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.

    Some native speakers of English, however, seem to favor the readings of "at least." I'd like to have second opinions.

    I'm assuming that an 80 percent rise in ten years is way too high, and this is a factor that could affect your judgments.

    Thank you in advance
    Seiichi MYOGA

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiichi MYOGA View Post
    According to MED (Macmillan English Dictionary), "no less than" in (1) should mean "as much as."

    (1) used before a number or amount for showing that it is large and surprising: Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.

    Some native speakers of English, however, seem to favor the readings of "at least." I'd like to have second opinions.

    I'm assuming that an 80 percent rise in ten years is way too high, and this is a factor that could affect your judgments.

    Thank you in advance
    Seiichi MYOGA
    I'm shocked the dictionary says that "no less than" means "as much as."

    Let's say we're looking at a five-year trend. It doesn't matter what it is - let's say the number of students in a certain teacher's class.
    The numbers are 25, 27, 23, 32, and 25 again.

    If you say "as much as" you refer to the highest number. She has taught as many* as 32 students in her class at one time. That means that some of the numbers will be lower than 32. (That would be considered a very large class size where I live.)

    On the other hand, let's say you come from a place where the classes are always overcrowded. You may marvel at the year she had only 23 student and say "She has taught with as few as 23 students in her class." You pick the lowest one.

    It is entirely incorrect to suggest you can substitute "as many as" with "as few as" in a context like this.

    *You can count them, so you say "many" not "much," but if it were a percentage, then you'd use "much" instead of "many."


    However this is not the situation you describe.

    Yes, we would say "no less than" to express surprise at a very high number. Exports have risen by - can you believe this number? listen to this - 80%! = Exports have risen by no less than 80%! It seems to require an exclamation mark, to indicate the expression of suprise.

    You can't substitute "at least" here - the surprise factor won't work. (There's a thread here about "no less a person than the Dowager Empress" -- again meaning "Wow! It was a person as important as the Dowager Empress!")

    And finally at least and "no less than." These can be neutral.

    How long do you think the drive will be?
    Plan on at least 2 hours. Plan on no less than 2 hours.

    It will be no less tha 3 hours, but no more than 5, even if you hit the worst of the traffic.

    EDIT: Oh, I see you have only "no less than" and that "no" is different from the "as" I described above. Oh well - you seem interested in these things, so maybe these examples will help in the long run, even if it wasn't your exact question.

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiichi MYOGA View Post
    According to MED (Macmillan English Dictionary), "no less than" in (1) should mean "as much as."

    (1) used before a number or amount for showing that it is large and surprising: Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.

    Some native speakers of English, however, seem to favor the readings of "at least." I'd like to have second opinions.

    I'm assuming that an 80 percent rise in ten years is way too high, and this is a factor that could affect your judgments.

    Thank you in advance
    Seiichi MYOGA
    They are not synonymous. I disagree with MED here (but naturally, context is important).
    "No less than 80%" means that 79% is ruled out (since 79 is less than 80)
    "As much as 80%" does not rule out 79%. It means "up to 80%", and one could argue that it means "no more than 80%. This would rule out 81%.
    So unless the number is exactly 80%, the terms are antonymous.

    Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.
    This means that exports have risen at least 80%. Perhaps 80%, perhaps more, but not less than 80%.
    "no less than" means "at least"

    Exports have risen by no more than 20% in the last ten years.
    "no more than / not more than" means "at most", "as much as"
    This includes 19%, 5%, 2%, -2%: as long as it's not greater than 20%.

    Exports have risen by as little as 10% in the last ten years.
    "as little as" means "down to". So this includes 11%, 15%, 25%.

    "as much as" (up to) is an antonym to "as little as"

  4. #4
    Seiichi MYOGA is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.

    Dear Barb_D and Raymott,

    I appreciate your help and detailed comments.

    Can I make two follow-up questions (actually, three, but I'll put it for later)?

    #1 I think now you will agree that "no less than" is equal in meaning to "as many [much] as" in (2). Do you?

    (2) Exports have risen by no less than 80%.

    #2 This time, context is specifically talking about fluctuations on a yearly basis.

    Which FILLS in the blank in (3b)?

    (3) 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 (e) up to

    I think it is (a) and (e).
    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)
    So, the total number of deaths during the 10 years from 1995 to 2004) amounts to 6.

    Thank you in advance
    Seiichi MYOGA
    Last edited by Seiichi MYOGA; 08-Jul-2009 at 06:58.

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.

    I don't understand how you could have made this first conclusion at all.
    #1 I think now you will agree that "no less than" is equal in meaning to "as many [much] as" in (2). Do you?

    (2) Exports have risen by no less than 80%.


    Read what Ray wrote:
    They are not synonymous. I disagree with MED here (but naturally, context is important).
    "No less than 80%" means that 79% is ruled out (since 79 is less than 80)
    "As much as 80%" does not rule out 79%. It means "up to 80%", and one could argue that it means "no more than 80%. This would rule out 81%.
    So unless the number is exactly 80%, the terms are antonymous.


    Read what I wrote:
    Yes, we would say "no less than" to express surprise at a very high number.
    You cannot substitute "as much as" in your sentence.

    For your second question, I agree. It means from 0 to 3, and your choices convey that as well.

    But this doesn't make sense: So, the total number of deaths during the 10 years from 1995 to 2004) amounts to 6. It could have been as high as 30 (up to 3 per year).

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.

    I agree with all of Barb's comments regarding this.

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