I have heard the following line in the TV series "Vis a Vis", which takes place in Spain:

Fue más lista que la policía, más lista que los perros, más lista que los inspectores, más lista que nadie.

Does "más lista que nadie" mean "más lista que todos"? Is it usual in both Spain and Latin America?

  • que nadie = en portugues, que qualquer otra pessoa. – Lambie May 14 at 15:41

Yes, there's no logic to it but “más X que nadie” means the same as “más X que todos”, for any value of adjective X. If there's a difference, it's very subtle.

  • “Más lista que nadie” = she's smarter than anybody that you can think of; nobody is or could be smarter than her.
  • “Más lista que todos” = she's smarter than anybody around, smarter than every person that here and now could compare with her.
  • Also possible, but different meaning: “Más lista que todos ellos juntos” = she's smarter than all of them put together.

The principle is valid also for nunca: “Me siento mejor que nunca” = “Me siento mejor que en todo otro momento; nunca (antes) me había sentido mejor”.

I'd say this is ground-level Spanish, so to speak, i.e. something shared by all dialects.

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  • 2
    There's also the expression "más que nada" (more than anything (else)), which follows the same logic. – Gustavson May 14 at 14:19
  • "No se te olvida nada?" is also the common way to say "You didn't forget anything?". "No hay nada que hacer" means "There isn't anything to do". Re: "there's no logic to it", I wonder why the dictionary hasn't amended the definition of "nada" with "algo; cualquier cosa", since the usage is so common. Then again, it'd be as bad as how "literally" had its definition modified for a time to include "figuratively"/"virtually". – JoL May 14 at 16:25
  • Well, "¿No se te olvida nada?" and the like are different: they're double negatives. Obviously there must be a "logic" behind all this. The crucial difference with English is that the quartet "every- / some- / any- / no-" doesn't map well to our own (incomplete) trios of quantifiers ("todo/todos, algo/algunos, nada/ningunos"). – pablodf76 May 14 at 16:50

Short answer: yes, it means the same.

"Más (adjective) que nadie" implies, using a negative form that sounds strange to English speakers, that nobody is as (adj) as that person.

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