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Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Top Ten Best Superlatives That Are Superior to All Others

Just heard an ad claiming "Only Ford has the best combination of mileage and torque." Well, given Ford has the best combination, it wouldn't seem to be possible that, say, Toyota, also has the best combination. (They could be tied, but then neither would be the best.)

This sort of construction seems to be more and more common. I never recall hearing anything like this as a kid. But -- was it Letterman that was responsible? -- in the 90s I recall starting to hear "The top ten best cities to live in" and so forth.

Anyway, it still sounds really ugly to me, as if the speaker is not aware of what superlatives mean.

1 comment:

  1. You're right, this redundancy suggests that people who use phrases like "top ten best" have lost sight of how superlatives are supposed to work. Objective to "ten best" would be pedantic, but "top ten best" is exactly like saying "best ten best." Which sounds pretty close to "doubleplusgood" to my ears...

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