My teacher said that this idiom would never be told by an American and is British English. What is an alternative way to say this in American English?

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    Check couldn't ask for more in TFD. It is cited as coming from McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., so should be reasonably American in usage. – alwayslearning Nov 21 '16 at 9:41
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    The Google Ngrams for "more could one ask for" for the American and British corpora show little difference. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '16 at 10:00
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    I've got rhythm. What more could one ask for? Tea anyone...? – Dan Nov 21 '16 at 10:15
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    Probably "what more could one ask" is more idiomatic in the US, given that you should never use a preposition to end a sentence with. – Hot Licks Nov 21 '16 at 13:05
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    Are there even places where you could here "For what more could one ask?" – Dan Nov 21 '16 at 15:44

Who could ask for anything more ?, surely. (I Got rhythm. I. Gershwin)


I believe your teacher is wrong. I am an American and "What more could one ask for?" sounds perfectly natural, if a bit formal. This is not one of those idioms that comes in one form that everyone uses consistently. You can substitute "anyone" or "you" or "a person" (for instance) in place of "one", and you could substitute "want" or "wish for" (again, just as examples) instead of "ask for".


I think its the "one" construction that would be highly unusual in colloquial American English. Rephrase it without that and you are probably OK. For example, I'm pretty sure I've heard "What more could anybody ask for?"

I've also heard @convoke's "What more could you want?", as well as "What more could you/anyone need?"

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    I don't think 'one' is much more cmmon in colloquial British English! – Colin Fine Nov 21 '16 at 14:18
  • @Colin: there's a use of "one" when it means a certain specific person (for example, me), which sounds very British to me. But as a general pronoun, not so much. See Ngram. – Peter Shor Nov 21 '16 at 14:21
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    @PeterShor, there's colloquial and colloquial. There are people for whom 'one' is in everyday speech. But many people would only ever use 'one' if they were trying to sound upper class, for whatever reason. – Colin Fine Nov 21 '16 at 14:32
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    Agreed, "one" is slowly falling out of general use in British English. Most people would say "I've got a room with a view. What more could you ask for?". (That is, "you" rather than "one"). But "no-one" is still current: "No-one could ask for anything more". – Michael Kay Nov 21 '16 at 15:30
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    I mean, just "what more could you ask for?" is probably fine. – Casey Nov 21 '16 at 19:21

Lots of Gershwin jokes in here... but colloquially, I'd say "What more could you want?"

  • Gershwin as in "Who Could Ask for Anything More"? – ttw Nov 22 '16 at 3:55
  • Yes, that's the one. – convoke Nov 23 '16 at 23:37

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