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This is the video where I heard this phrase. https://youtu.be/n6sTlukHLiA (listen from 5:00 mark) I kind of know what he's trying to say but why did he didn't use "NOT" between the sentence.

I am thinking the sentence should be: I just love you too much to NOT let you eat that.

The reason why I think 'not' should be here is because the speaker (will smith) is clearly saying not to eat the pizza. And without the no it's means (to me at least) that I love you too much and that's why I will let eat that (pizza). It's so confusing for me to understand this phrase. (If you need to see the context then please watch the video from 5:00 mark and in the next 15 seconds you will hear the phrase and understand the context.)

I know I'm wrong but can you explain why. Thanks

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  • You need to explain what makes you think there should be a ‘not’ in there? Is the item likely to be desirable and harmless, or desirable but harmful in some way? – Tuffy May 9 at 7:46
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    The construction '...too much to...' means '...so much that I will not...'. If a child is too short to reach a shelf, they are so short that they cannot reach it. – Kate Bunting May 9 at 8:03
  • I think you are correct in the parsing of the grammar, but misinterpreting the meaning of the statement in context. He's saying, eating that will be bad for you, and I love you so much that I am not going to let you eat that. – geekahedron May 9 at 13:33
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    @geekahedron Quite the reverse; the OP understands the meaning (that he doesn't want her to eat it) but is apparently confused by the grammar. – Kate Bunting May 9 at 13:47
  • Right you are; I missed the second "not" in the first line of the large paragraph. – geekahedron May 9 at 14:07
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The assumption here is that eating the pizza would be bad (I suppose for health reasons) and therefore the right thing for a caring person to do would be to try and dissuade the person from eating it. It is like a parent might prevent their child from eating too many sweets.

From a syntax point of view, I love you too much to let is always followed by the thing that you don't want to happen. The word let means allow in this context. So you are already saying that you don't want to allow the thing to happen. Therefore, another negative is not required.

It is an idiomatic expression, so much so that it can sometimes be said as a joke (although it is obviously serious in this case).

As a joke, the speaker actually wants to eat the pizza themselves (or at least share it) and pretends to want to prevent the other from eating it because they care about them. Both people have to understand this for the joke to be funny.

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The word "too" by itself means "more than enough" or "excessively much." The construction "too [verb] [to-infinitive]" means "so much that something cannot happen" (Cambridge).

From an analytical perspective, it's implied that there is a limit up to which something could happen, but the instance being referred to is beyond that limit (hence "too" much).

For example, say there is a certain amount of weight that I am able to lift. If I am referring to a weight that is greater than that limit, I would say, "This weight is too heavy to lift." The negative is implied in the construction, i.e. "This weight is so heavy that I cannot lift it." Alternatively, "This weight is too heavy [for it to be possible] to lift."

In the video, "I love you too much to let you eat that" means "I love you so much that I cannot let you eat that."

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