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I'm always confused about the meaning and use of

no more than

versus

no more ____ than.

They're sometimes like comparatives, but sometimes also like collocation. How should I distinguish them?

For example, in this sentence

Many predictions are no more than best guesses.

What's the meaning of "no more than"?

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    ≦ : less than or equal to. – Mazura Aug 15 '15 at 5:19
  • Hasn't this question been answered about 50 times already? – Hot Licks Aug 15 '15 at 19:57
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In the referred example " no more than " is a way of telling "simply, just, only" in an otherwise emphatic way to drive home the assertion or negation.

MORE is the comparative form of " much & many". So it carries its normal meaning in this respect. It also means greater quantity/degree being used as adjective or adverb: * 10 is 2 more than 8 * He is more in sorrow than in anger.

The two examples are cited only to show that if you stick to the lexicon meaning of ###no more than, you'll land at this meaning of JUST as is said by King Lear's youngest daughter, ".....nor more, nor less", about her bond with her father suggesting only "just or equals to".

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I'm not sure if it's a collocation or an idiom but here's how I'd distinguish them:

No more than three shall be the number of the counting.

Many predictions are nothing more than best guesses.

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