# "no more than" and "at most"

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#### sykim99

##### Junior Member
One such atomic clock is so accurate that it will probably lose no more than a second in 3,000 years.

Is it o.k. if I use "at most" or "only" instead of "no more than" without a change of meaning?

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#### buggles

##### Key Member
One such atomic clock is so accurate that it will probably lose no more than a second in 3,000 years.

Is it o.k. if I use "at most" or "only" instead of "no more than" without a change of meaning?

"at most" has the same meaning and would be fine here, but "only" has a different, more absolute meaning.

If we say the clock loses only a second....
we are saying that it definitely loses one second every 3000 years.

The other two tell us that the clock could lose up to (and not more than) one second in 3000 years.

It's a bit like saying, "A new car will cost no more than/at most \$20000".

Clearly, that's different from, "A new car will cost only \$20000".

buggles (not a teacher)

#### sarat_106

##### Key Member
One such atomic clock is so accurate that it will probably lose no more than/not more than a second in 3,000 years.

Is it o.k. if I use "at most" or "only" instead of "no more than" without a change of meaning?

I think the alternative in red is a better idiomatic expression although both in real sense mean the same,that is; less than a second.
If you replace by "at most" it would mean: less than or equal to a second, while 'only' means equal to a secomd.

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