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navi
Posted: Friday, August 9, 2019 3:09:26 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/16/2014
Posts: 443
Neurons: 4,250
1) He wasn't walking more than five feet behind me.
2) He was walking not more than five feet behind me.

Are '1' and '2' both correct?
Do they mean the same?

======================

3) He didn't walk more than five feet behind me.
4) He walked not more than five feet behind me.

Are '3' and '4' both correct?
Do they mean the same?


Gratefully,
Navi
palapaguy
Posted: Friday, August 9, 2019 3:17:22 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/28/2013
Posts: 1,746
Neurons: 13,740
Location: Calabasas, California, United States
navi wrote:
1) He wasn't walking more than five feet behind me.
2) He was walking not more than five feet behind me.

Are '1' and '2' both correct? YES
Do they mean the same? YES

======================

3) He didn't walk more than five feet behind me.
4) He walked not more than five feet behind me.

Are '3' and '4' both correct? YES
Do they mean the same? YES


Gratefully,
Navi
Romany
Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2019 6:05:01 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 16,042
Neurons: 50,816
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

I'm not sure I would agree with Palapaguy in this particular instance.

Both 1) and 3) are possible but unecessarily convoluted: the only way the negative "wasn't" would be used that I can think of, is if a direct question is asked: e.g. "WAS he walking more than five feet behind you?" "No. He WASN'T walking more than five feet behind me."

The idiomatic usage is "no" rather than "not" in 2) & 4). e.g. "He was walking no more than 5ft. behind me." "He walked no more than 5ft. behind me."
BobShilling
Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2019 7:07:14 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/1/2018
Posts: 1,420
Neurons: 7,616
Location: Beroun, Stredocesky, Czech Republic
The admirer of elegant English would agree with Romany.

However, I think that many less-high-minded native speakers would happily accept #1 and #3 with the more meaning conveyed more elegantly by #2 and #4.

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