You may remember that a few weeks ago I suggested that the people who market Freya's sandwich thins could do with some time on the naughty step. This was mostly due to their somewhat misleading claim that sandwich thins had less carbs than normal bread and also because I got my knickers in a knot about their use of "less" as opposed to "fewer".
While I was justified in pointing out that the reduced-carb claim was a tad questionable, turns out that their use of "less" as opposed to "fewer" might not have been as incorrect as I thought (thanks to commenter numero 20, "Don Juan", for pointing that out).
But I'm pretty damn sure I'm on solid ground this time (I hope). For pictured at right is a portion of an email that somehow made its way into the Silver Fox's inbox (it must have been an administrative error, what with both of us totally committed to a healthy eating regime*).
As you can see, I've got my red pen out again and this time it's all about the comparative vs the superlative. For those of you who aren't grammar nerds, the comparative is what you use to compare two things, for instance "On Downton Abbey, Lady Mary is much hotter than Lady Edith."
But once you have more than two things that you're sizing up against each other the superlative kicks in, "But Lady Sybil is the hottest of the Crawley sisters." There's three of them so you get to stick -est on the end of the word "hot".
It's a pretty good system that doesn't trip people up too often except perhaps when describing where they fit in sibling hierarchy. Technically you can't be "the eldest" in your family unless there's more than two of you. You can only be "the elder" which I personally think sounds awesome because surely "the elder" would have a cape?
But for the most part I think comparatives and superlatives hang out where they're supposed to, much like the characters in Downton Abbey with the gentry (above stairs) and the household staff (below).
Which brings us back to this pizza-related grammar Domino-no. I can kind of see why they've worded it the way they have. They want to give the impression that their pizzas are the best value for money of any pizzas available. I guess "home of the larger classic crust" didn't have much of a ring to it. But you really can't claim to have the biggest or best anything if you're only comparing it to one other example. That's just not how it works. That's like saying "The Dowager Countess is the hottest one at Downton Abbey...compared to the smoked kipper that's about to be served for brunch."
Dear advertising people. Stop treating me like I'm stupid or blind. I can see that asterisk. Why not just say "our pizzas are bigger than Pizza Hut's"? I'd have respect for that. And presumably it's actually true. But this whole grammatically incorrect "Big letters at the top, fine print at the bottom" approach? Nobody thinks you're clever or cool. Please stop.
What do you think of Domino's playing fast and loose with the superlative? No biggy or a bit misleading? Is it just high-carb food items that this is a problem with or am I just having a bad run here? Do you ever get confused between your comparatives and your superlatives. Would it help if I used characters from another TV show to illustrate?
*Oh, how I wish this were true.
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