Temperature Stated As a "Negative"

Victor aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 16 04:21:35 UTC 2009

The oddest one I've ever heard was "minus twelve below zero". It is not
so much just wrong as it is redundant.

But I have no prescriptive preference of "negative" vs. "minus". It's
like picking the "correct" expression between "pop", "soda", "sodapop",
"soft drink" and, believe it or not, "coke". (Yes--"coke" is one of many
regional versions for a generic description of carbonated drinks.)

I am not sure what qualifies the expression "negative fifteen" as
incorrect. It certainly not a question of physics--this is not an
expression of amount of energy, but rather of a measurable position on a
relative scale. So what _is_ the issue?


M Covarrubias wrote:
> all of my midwestern life i've switched between three options:
> minus-#
> negative-#
> #-below
> i think i say 'minus-#' most often. but i guess i haven't counted.
> michael

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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