Monday, May 23, 2005

What I do not understand about English

Suddenly a question about an English sentence came to my mind. What does this mean?

I can't love you any more.

Yes, I know that it should mean the speaker once loved his or her partner but has stopped loving the partner for some reason. My question is whether this sentence can mean something else.

I asked the AET of my school, "What does this mean?"
"It means literally," he said. "Yes, I know. But what about this? I love you at my maximum, so to love you more is impossible. Does the sentence possibly mean that, too?"
He thought a little while and said, "It's an excellent question! Yes, it can mean that way." Then, I gave him another question, "How do you know whether the sentence means that you don't love your partner or that you love her very much?" His answer was "It depends on the context." Uhmmm...

Readers, if you are a native speaker of English, please give me your opinion on the meaning of the sentence. I'm thinking that, if you want to say that your love is max, then you should say "I couldn't love you any more," using the subjunctive mode. What do you think?