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Recently once of my ESL students asked me the difference between "Not more than" and "No more than". While I believe the meaning is the same, I wonder if one is more American in usage than the other? Alas I am in China and my Fowlers is home in Australia, so I ask for any comments or advice, which would be appreciated

(in anticiaption) thanks!
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There is certainly a difference in usage, if not in actual meaning.

"She paid for both of us. It was no more than I would have expected of her."

"Nobody could hear you. You are no more an actor than I am an artist!"

(In this context "not more" would be entirely wrong.)
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Hello, Ajinchina,
Welcome to The Forums!
I can only offer my feeling:
to me, "no more than" corresponds to "nothing more than", whereas "not more than" simply contains the negation "not".
f.i.:
- a few weeks ago, this kitten was no more than a furry ball.
- yes, you can have some candies, but not more than three.

Maybe someone will come and correct me...
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Hello, AJ-- and welcome to English Forums.

I can see no difference (and I checked my old Fowler's just for fun, with no luck). They both seem to work with quantities: 'There are no/not more than ten eggs in a Japanese dozen'.

Oops! I do seem to detect that 'no more than' tends to mean 'precisely', where 'not more than' seems to mean 'equal to or less than'.

With nouns: 'he is no more than a boy' seems to be the natural choice, while 'not more than a boy' seems a little odd. Yet 'a boy of no/not more than thirteen' seems fine in both forms.

Perhaps another member can be more definitive.
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