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Consider these two expressions

The city can't handle any more people(moving here).

The city has as many people as it can handle.

The first expression is pretty clear, it says that city is over the limit and can't handle any more people.

However does the second expression convey the same meaning? If not, what should be the construct for it to mean the same thing as the first expression.

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    Perhaps-"the city does have as many people as it can handle". OR "the city does have as many people as it can possibly handle" Aug 6, 2014 at 17:37

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The city has as many people as it can handle.

says it can handle the current population, and implies that it cannot handle any more people.

The city can't handle any more people(moving here).

says that it cannot handle any more people, and implies that it can handle the current population.

So only in an implied sense do they mean essentially the same thing. More context is needed to decide clearly.

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  • Partially agreed. However, in my opinion the first sentence ("...can't handle any more...") gives a greater sense of urgency, whereas the other sentence gives some sense of leeway. If we were to add a similar sense of urgency to the second sentence, we could say that "The city has as many as people as it can possibly handle" drawing attention to the extent of the capability rather than the actuality.
    – LiveMynd
    Aug 7, 2014 at 0:46

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