less cold

A new fridge from a major appliance manufacturer features a panel in the door which is mostly opaque but which turns transparent when tapped, so that the owner/user can see what’s inside without opening the door. The manufacturer promises

less cold air loss

Unfortunately, the four words are placed two-by-two, and it results in 

less cold (    and    ) air loss

neither of which is a good selling point for a fridge.   

Less cold sounds slightly strange. We wouldn’t say more cold – we’d say colder, but there’s no immediate equivalent for the opposite. Warmer is not always appropriate. After several sub-zero mornings in a row, a zero-degree morning is hardly warmer. And imagine that the person who always gives you a frosty reception actually smiles one morning. Your reception may be less cold, but it’s hardly warmer

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2 thoughts on “less cold

  1. About the comparative: Just because something is better (than some other thing) doesn’t mean it’s good. For that matter, the superlative doesn’t imply the absolute quality either. You could probably name what you think is the worst Beethoven sonata, but that wouldn’t make it less than brilliant by any means.
    Or a zoologist could name the fastest species of snail.

    In conclusion, you could have a warmer reception that’s still cold.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As I was typing this post I thought of a few more examples, which I will put into a post sometime soon. One is that ‘the biggest watermelon you can find’ could be ‘the biggest of two’ or ‘the biggest of one’ or ‘zero’.

      Like

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