Juno.M
Question about "could not have been more"

Source Sentence:

"He could not have been more delighted if he had discovered the gold mine."


Is it means "When he discovered the gold mine, he was the most delighted."

(如果他发现了金矿,那没有比这更让他开心的事了。)

Or "There is something more delighted for him than finding a gold mine."

(要是他发现了金矿, 也没有什么更开心的事。)


Pls explain the grammar for it, thanks!!~


Apr 25, 2017 2:16 AM
Comments · 4
It’s 3rd conditional — contrary to fact past. He didn’t discover a gold mine, but if he had discovered one, he would not have been more excited than he was. Instead of “discovering a goldmine,” you could refer to anything extremely exciting. It’s just a way of saying that he was as excited as possible (from whatever did in fact happen — what’s the context?).

April 25, 2017

Thanks for your explanations~

I accept Phil's advice to find the context:

Preceding part of the text is saying about Sherlock Holmes find test results of reagent.

And refer to Chris, I tried to understand as below.

" Holmes did not discovery a gold mine, but he find the test results of reagent. For him, finding test results was more delighted than discovering a gold mine."

April 25, 2017

He could not have been more delighted if he had discovered the gold mine."


You were closest on your first guess.


The sentence means that the person is comparably as happy as if he had discovered the gold mine.  The writer seems to be talking about a specific gold mine, otherwise they would have put "a" in place of "the" (gold mine).  Often the word, "himself" is put at the end of sentences structured like this.  "He could not have been more delighted if he had discovered the gold mine himself."  

You might also think of it as saying, "It was impossible for him to be happier, even if he had discovered the gold mine."  


Hope that helps!

April 25, 2017
You've got it, Juno. When Holmes identified the reagent, he was as delighted as a normal person would be on discovering a gold mine. Holmes was a bit of a nerd ;)
April 25, 2017