[Ads-l] Phrase: more than (less than) three hundred degrees below zero

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 22 07:17:53 UTC 2022

Mark Mandel wrote:
> I read it as
> [more than three hundred] degrees below zero
> rather than
> more than [three hundred degrees below zero]
> *"n* below zero" is not a common way of referring to a negative number. I
> don't think I have ever encountered it as that; rather, only with reference
> to temperature.

Good point, Mark. I automatically parse the phrase "three hundred
degrees below zero" as a temperature; I apply the comparison to the
temperature of -300 degrees F.

However, quick probes with Google suggest that people differ in their

Website:Then 24
Article: The historic polar wave that Brazil suffers could affect Argentina
Date: Jul 26, 2021

[Begin excerpt]
The temperature could reach less than 10 degrees below zero in the
highest locations, such as the city of Gramado.
[End excerpt]

Website: The Washington Post
Article: Coldest air of the season en route to Great Lakes, Upper
Midwest next week
Date: 2019/12/06

[Begin excerpt]
By Tuesday, the high temperature may be only 3 or 4 degrees, with lows
more than 10 degrees below zero. Minneapolis is no stranger to ...
[End excerpt]

Website: The Appliance Clinic
Article: Temperature Control

[Begin excerpt]
You are wasting energy if you keep the freezer less than 10 degrees
below zero. Adjust the freezer control for a freezer temperature
between 0 and 10 degrees F.
[End excerpt]

Website: lyrics.com
Song: Mean Ol' Place #2
Singer-Songwriter: Michael Fracasso

[Begin excerpt]
It's a mean ol place
That place you go
Where the outside temperature Is less than 10 below
[End excerpt]

Website: Detroit Free Press
Article: Bone-chilling cold creates a mess around U.S.
Author: Dave Collins (Associated Press)
Date: Jan 8, 2015

[Begin excerpt]
Temperatures were expected to drop to zero or below in southern New
England and to 7 above in New York City, with wind chills making it
feel like less than 20 below in some places. But little or no snow is
forecast for most of the Northeast.
[End excerpt]


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list