Thread: superlative missuse

From:
Angel Alvarez
Date:

Dear List mates,

more optimal plan...
morreoptimal configuration...

we suffer a 'more optimal' superlative missuse

there is  not so 'more optimal' thing but a simple 'better' thing.

im not native english speaker but i think it still applies.

Well this a superlative list so all of you deserve a better "optimal" use.

Regards, Angel
--
Este correo no tiene dibujos. Las formas extrañas en la pantalla son letras.
->>-----------------------------------------------
    Clist UAH a.k.a Angel
---------------------------------[www.uah.es]-<<--

...being the second biggest search engine in the world is good enough for us. Peter @ Pirate Bay.

From:
David Wilson
Date:

On Tue, May 12, 2009 at 5:53 PM, Angel Alvarez <> wrote:

> we suffer a 'more optimal' superlative missuse
>
> there is  not so 'more optimal' thing but a simple 'better' thing.
>
> im not native english speaker but i think it still applies.
>
> Well this a superlative list so all of you deserve a better "optimal" use.

As a native english speaker:

You are technically correct. However, "more optimal" has a
well-understood meaning as "closer to optimal", and as such is
appropriate and generally acceptable despite being technically
incorrect.

This is a postgres mailing list, not an english grammar mailing list...

--
- David T. Wilson


From:
Chris Browne
Date:

 (Angel Alvarez) writes:
> more optimal plan...
> morreoptimal configuration...
>
> we suffer a 'more optimal' superlative missuse
>
> there is  not so 'more optimal' thing but a simple 'better' thing.
>
> im not native english speaker but i think it still applies.

If I wanted to be pedantic about it, I'd say that the word "nearly" is
missing.

That is, it would be "strictly correct" if one instead said "more
nearly optimal."

I don't imagine people get too terribly confused by the lack of the
word "nearly," so I nearly don't care :-).
--
select 'cbbrowne' || '@' || 'acm.org';
http://linuxfinances.info/info/languages.html
"Bureaucracies interpret communication as damage and route around it"
-- Jamie Zawinski

From:
Tom Lane
Date:

Chris Browne <> writes:
>  (Angel Alvarez) writes:
>> there is  not so 'more optimal' thing but a simple 'better' thing.

> If I wanted to be pedantic about it, I'd say that the word "nearly" is
> missing.

> That is, it would be "strictly correct" if one instead said "more
> nearly optimal."

This sort of construction is longstanding practice in English anyway.
The most famous example I can think of offhand is in the US
Constitution: "... in order to form a more perfect union ..."

            regards, tom lane

From:
Angel Alvarez
Date:

El Miércoles, 13 de Mayo de 2009 Tom Lane escribió:
> Chris Browne <> writes:
> >  (Angel Alvarez) writes:
> >> there is  not so 'more optimal' thing but a simple 'better' thing.
>
> > If I wanted to be pedantic about it, I'd say that the word "nearly" is
> > missing.
>
> > That is, it would be "strictly correct" if one instead said "more
> > nearly optimal."
>
> This sort of construction is longstanding practice in English anyway.
> The most famous example I can think of offhand is in the US
> Constitution: "... in order to form a more perfect union ..."

Wooa!!

So "Tom lane for President" still applies!! :-)

Thanks all of you.

>
>             regards, tom lane
>



--
No imprima este correo si no es necesario. El medio ambiente está en nuestras manos.
->>--------------------------------------------------

 Angel J. Alvarez Miguel, Sección de Sistemas
 Area de Explotación, Servicios Informáticos

 Edificio Torre de Control, Campus Externo UAH
 Alcalá de Henares 28806, Madrid  ** ESPAÑA **

 RedIRIS Jabber: 
------------------------------------[www.uah.es]-<<--
Tú lo compras, yo lo copio. Todo legal.
--
Agua para todo? No, Agua para Todos.
->>-----------------------------------------------
    Clist UAH a.k.a Angel
---------------------------------[www.uah.es]-<<--

No le daría Cocacola Zero, ni a mi peor enemigo. Para eso está el gas Mostaza que es mas piadoso.

From:
David Wilson
Date:

On Thu, May 14, 2009 at 9:08 PM, Craig James <> wrote:

> I disagree -- it's a glaring error.  "More optimized" or "better optimized"
> are perfectly good, and correct, phrases.  Why not use them?  Every time I
> read "more optimal," I am embarrassed for the person who is showing his/her
> ignorance of the basics of English grammar.  If I wrote, "It's more best,"
> would you find that acceptable?

Oh, I agree it's an error- and it's one I personally avoid. But
unfortunately, it's remarkably common and has been for some time- as
Tom pointed out with the quote from the US Constitution. On the other
hand, "more best" is more clearly a mistake because of the presence of
"better" as an alternative that is both correct and commonly used.
"More optimized" is infrequent enough to slip by a little more easily.

> Since you replied on the list, it's only appropriate to get at least one
> rebuttal.

As is, of course, your certain right. I think that's enough on the
list, though I'd be happy to continue off-list if there's any
interest. :)

--
- David T. Wilson


From:
Craig James
Date:

David Wilson wrote:
> On Tue, May 12, 2009 at 5:53 PM, Angel Alvarez <> wrote:
>
>> we suffer a 'more optimal' superlative missuse
>>
>> there is  not so 'more optimal' thing but a simple 'better' thing.
>>
>> im not native english speaker but i think it still applies.
>>
>> Well this a superlative list so all of you deserve a better "optimal" use.
>
> As a native english speaker:
>
> You are technically correct. However, "more optimal" has a
> well-understood meaning as "closer to optimal", and as such is
> appropriate and generally acceptable despite being technically
> incorrect.

I disagree -- it's a glaring error.  "More optimized" or "better optimized" are perfectly good, and correct, phrases.
Whynot use them?  Every time I read "more optimal," I am embarrassed for the person who is showing his/her ignorance of
thebasics of English grammar.  If I wrote, "It's more best," would you find that acceptable? 

> This is a postgres mailing list, not an english grammar mailing list...

Since you replied on the list, it's only appropriate to get at least one rebuttal.

Craig