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Which is it correct to say when expressing satisfaction of what I have done?

  1. My life couldn't be any better with all that I have experienced ...

  2. My life couldn't be any better without all that I have experienced...

  • They are both correct. It depends on what you're trying to say. – Jason Bassford Dec 21 '18 at 0:23
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Both of your sentences have valid meanings.

  1. My life couldn't be any better with all that I have experienced ...

  2. My life couldn't be any better without all that I have experienced ...

To me, #1 suggests the experiences mentioned have caused problems, but your life is now as good as could be hoped for after having come through those experiences.

In contrast, #2 suggests your life is now as good as could be hoped for, but only because of those experiences in the past.

Neither suggests satisfaction because of what you have done. For that I might say:

My life is good now because of things I have done.

  • My interpretation is exactly opposite. I would think of "with" corresponding to "in light of" and "without" to "despite" in these examples. However, as I type this comment, I can imagine both sentences matching both interpretations depending on intonation and emphasis. – Tashus Dec 21 '18 at 16:05
  • @Tashus I think you're right that intonation and emphasis could make a difference to the interpretation of these sentences. The meaning I suggested for #2 still seems like the only sensible option to me. However, if I wanted to convey the meaning I suggested for #1, I would probably use 'given' rather than 'with'. I don't really want to state an opinion anymore on what the meaning is if 'with' is used. – Ross Murray Dec 22 '18 at 11:14
  • I think the meaning depends on whether "all that I have experienced" refers to good events or to bad events. "My life couldn't be any better even without all the bad things that I have experienced." When I first saw this question I thought it was rather straightforward, but there really is a lot of subtlety. – Tashus Dec 22 '18 at 18:30
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Interesting juxtaposition between your two examples.

Your first example is a standard way of saying that "things can not get any better"

My life could not be any better with

and then something usually considered very good is mentioned

My life could not be any better with a million dollars more.

to show that nothing could make things better.

Your second example is less standard, the standard way to express it might be

My life could be better without

and then a past bad experience might be mentioned indicating that "without" that happening, things would be better. As your example stands now, it is similar to a double negative. A better way to express it might be

My life would not be better without

to say that a bad experience has ultimately proven helpful in the long run.

My life would not be better without failing at my first attempt.

Meaning that if you had been successful the first time, things would not be as good, but since you failed and learned from the experience, you are now better off.

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