# As Many Books As?

•  1
Hello teachers

I found an English teacher for a college in Tokyo is talking in his home page something like as follows.

"Tom has as many books as John" implies not only "The number of Tom's books is equal to that of John's books" but also "The number of Tom's books is greater than that of John's books". This argument can be easily proved true if one knows that native speakers often say like "Tom has as many books, if not more, as John". If "Tom has as many books as John" were to imply nothing but "The number of Tom's books is equal to that of John's books", such insertion of "if not more" would make no sense.

Do you think he is correct?

paco
If I may give my opinion, I must say that I find this reasoning unsound. In the example given, "if not more" is an addition which is not at all implicit in "as many books as". The reason why the addition does make sense is that the person who is making the comparison is not completely sure about whether Tom has as many books as John, or whether he has more books than John. I mean, the person in question first says that the number of books is equal, but then he realizes that this may not be the case because the number of Tom's books may be greater than of John's books.

Sextus
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It sounds a little odd to me.

I would go this far:

1. MrX has as much money as MrY.

Here, you could say that MrX has no less money than MrY; i.e. he may have more.

MrP
Thank you Sextus and Mr P for the quick replies.

I agree with Sextus in the interpretation of the sentence. The English teacher must misunderstand the sense of the phrase "if not more". In my opinion, the sentence he gave should be, more precisely speaking, "Tom has as many books as, if not more than, John". I take the phrase "if not more" as an elided form of "if it were not more than". I think this sentence seems to say like "It's possible Tom has more books than John, but it is not so sure. What is definite is that Tom at least as many books as John".

I am surprised to know that the teacher not only is teaching English in a college but also has published many books for English learners in Japan.

paco

<...I am surprised to know that the teacher not only is teaching English in a college but also has published many books for English learners in Japan....>

No doubt he helped devise some of those puzzling exam questions members bring to us, where either no or more than one answer is correct...

MrP
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