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    #1

    as much as

    I'd like you to help us with the interpretation of "as much as" in the sentence below.

    (1) The painting was expected to fetch as much as 5 million.

    I know that "as much as" in (2) means "the surprisingly large number of" and is equivalent in meaning to "no less than."

    (2) The painting fetched as much as 5 million.

    But (1) is talking about a possibility and not about a fact. In this case, "as much as" refers to the largest possible amount, and we can instead use "up to" or "at most." That's what I think.

    Do you think I'm on the right track?

    Thank you in advance
    Seiichi MYOGA

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: as much as

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiichi MYOGA View Post
    I'd like you to help us with the interpretation of "as much as" in the sentence below.

    (1) The painting was expected to fetch as much as 5 million.

    I know that "as much as" in (2) means "the surprisingly large number of" and is equivalent in meaning to "no less than."

    (2) The painting fetched as much as 5 million.

    But (1) is talking about a possibility and not about a fact. In this case, "as much as" refers to the largest possible amount, and we can instead use "up to" or "at most." That's what I think.

    Do you think I'm on the right track?

    Thank you in advance
    Seiichi MYOGA
    You are right you could use 'up to' but 'as much as' is perfectly correct. I wouldn't use 'at most', it could sell for more.

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    #3

    Re: as much as

    Dear bhaisahab,

    I appreciate your help and comments.

    Actually, I still have difficulty understanding why "at most" can't work here, but I will leave it at that for now.

    Seiichi MYOGA

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: as much as

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiichi MYOGA View Post
    Dear bhaisahab,

    I appreciate your help and comments.

    Actually, I still have difficulty understanding why "at most" can't work here, but I will leave it at that for now.

    Seiichi MYOGA
    If the painting is going for auction we can say that it is expected to sell for as much as 5 million or up to 5 million; this is an expectation it is not certain, maybe it will sell for more maybe for less. If we say it will sell for 5 million at most it means that we are certain that it won't fetch more.

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    #5

    Re: as much as

    Dear bhaisahab,

    I appreciate your help and comments.

    Now I think I understand.

    The English language has several ways to express the idea of upper limit: at most, no/not more than, up to, as many [much] as, as high as, etc.
    But that idea is cancelable (except for "at most")!

    Your comments also tell us why "at most" doesn't convey the idea of surprise.

    Seiichi MYOGA

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