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https://youtu.be/-qfI3DZmmQw?t=42

It’s not like there’s a shortage of scientific facts out there spelling it all out for us.

But let’s be honest — not many people can relate to scientists sharing their data, no matter how compelling it is.

When I give talks as a scientist versus when I’m talking to a friend, I don’t think I’m any more persuasive. In fact, I think as a scientist, I may be actually less trusted.

I guess here he's saying like "I'm not very persuasive", but I'm not familiar with this usage (I'm only used to expressions like "I don't do that any more.") and don't exactly know what this sentence means.

Does "I don't think I'm any more [adjective]" mean "I'm not [adjective]"?

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More indicates a comparison. "I'm not any more [adjective]" cannot stand alone and be meaningful - some context must indicate what is being compared to what. The any just indicates that the not more is absolute. So:

I don't think I'm any more persuasive than you

Means the speaker doesn't think they are even slightly more persuasive than the person they are addressing.

I don't think I'm much more intelligent than Bob

Means the speaker acknowledges that they may be more intelligent than Bob, but they don't think it's to a large degree.

The comparison in your example is about talking in different roles:

When I give talks as a scientist versus when I’m talking to a friend, I don’t think I’m any more persuasive. In fact, I think as a scientist, I may be actually less trusted.

They are saying that they are no more persuasive when being a scientist, giving talks, than they are when they are just talking to friends. They then go on to say that they may be less persuasive in that situation - using trusted as an alternative to persuasive, which I see problems with, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.

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In your example, this:

I don’t think I’m any more persuasive.

should be understood in this way:

  • "I don't think I'm..." = (I assume / I guess / I estimate) I am not...
  • "more persuasive" = standard meaning, no tricks
  • "any" = is used near "more" to indicate a (relatively) small "quantity"

So overall meaning could be understood something like this:

I guess I am not more persuasive, not more than a little bit.

Regarding this:

Does "I don't think I'm any more [adjective]" mean "I'm not [adjective]"?

The answer is "yes and no". While base meaning is similar, the sentence with "I don't think" implies some level of uncertainty, while "I'm not" implies certain knowledge.

The Cambridge Dictionary may help in more detail explaining the meanings of "any".

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  • So he's saying "Compared to when talking to an audience as a scientist and when talking to a friend, there's no difference in persuasiveness"? – dbwlsld Feb 28 '19 at 6:29
  • So "any" here is like "not even a bit"? – dbwlsld Feb 28 '19 at 6:30
  • You helped me find a better wording, see edit. Here, "any" is more similar to "just a little bit". This is not exact science, of course, and a perfect synonym may not exist. But you got the general idea. One thought: "any" actually does not have the purpose to specify "quantity", but to introduce some ambiguity, same as "I think". – virolino Feb 28 '19 at 6:47

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