Management of a state is a matter for which men cannot be too intelligent.
Why is it that this sentence has two opposite meanings?
Thanks, but I'm looking for a more technical answer. Which words change meaning specifically? Is there a grammatical term for this inversion of meaning? It's not irony or sarcasm, so what is it?
It's the usage of x cannot be too y (x usually a noun and y an adjective), which is used commonly to mean x can be more y, whereas the literal meaning of x cannot be too y is x cannot be too y
>you can't be too good at playing baseball, when it comes to being good at playing baseball
it's just saying you can't be too proficient because ideally you want to be as proficient as possible
What do you mean both versions are correct when interpreted literally? That's one sentence so I'm not sure where you're getting the two versions from. Correct according to what? Do you mean that they are the same when interpreted literally? In which case 'can' denotes ability to, so
>you can't be too good at playing baseball
>you are not able to be too good at playing baseball
and 'being too good' in this case means having a limit, which most often do not exist, since you can always become better at a certain ability.
So basically what this sentence is saying is
>since you can always be better, you do not possess the ability right now to be the best.