What is the correct semantics?

We can't tolerate no more.


We can tolerate no more.


We can't tolerate any more.

Or, Is there any better way to express such meaning?

1 Answer 1


Your first sentence is poor grammar, while the 2nd and 3rd are both acceptable.

It is like saying:

1) We can't do nothing OR We can't do no more.

compared to

2) We can't do anything OR We can't do any more.


3) We can do nothing OR We can do no more.

1) is heard, said and written by native speakers but it is considered informal and by many to be ungrammatical.

EDIT Despite TheKojuEffect's question and my grammatically correct answer, albeit both simplistic, have been down voted, I'll persevere. At this point thanks to the comments attached, the original question has now become more interesting for me. So, I thought I'd expand my answer by including some unbiased data.

1)can't do no more on google yields 179,000,000 results

1) can't tolerate no more on google yields 209,000 results

2)can do no more yields 46,100,000 results

2) can tolerate no more yields 242,000 results

3)can't do any more meanwhile yields 15,900,000 results while finally

3) can't tolerate any more yields 1,160,000 results.

By looking at the data it appears that the first, "Can't do no more" which I claimed was poor grammar is however, far and away the most popular. Meanwhile, the third option can't + tolerate + any more to answer the original poster's question, is the construction people usually prefer.

  • I don't think your "or" sentences mean the same thing. The OP's examples are specifically using "no more", not "anything" or "nothing". Jun 8, 2013 at 12:09
  • Yes, I agree but I was trying to simplify my explanation. Substituting "tolerate" with "do" I wanted to show the grammar taught rule: "any" with negative and question forms. (I know, there are no questions in the above). In positive sentences however, "no + noun" and "some" is preferred. EDITED.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 8, 2013 at 13:19
  • 3
    It all depends on the dialect of English spoken locally. Some dialects have Negative Concord in addition to Negative Polarity. Jun 8, 2013 at 16:15
  • 3
    It's not false as much as it is misleading. It assumes, for instance, that negative concord is "poor grammar", when it's just a feature of a different dialect. Grammar is about how people really speak, not about how they ought to speak. Statements like that are appropriate for children, not adults. Jun 8, 2013 at 16:42
  • 1
    I think your original answer was on the right track, despite the Google results. "Can't do no more" is in some song lyrics, which gives it an inflated number of hits. If you search for "Can't do no more" vs. "Can't do any more" on Google Books, the latter is 100x more common (52,000 vs. 5.2 million). Moreover, many of the hits for "Can't do no more" are references to song lyrics in books.
    – J.R.
    Jun 10, 2013 at 3:08

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