Thursday, December 09, 2004

-er or -est?

A useful discussion has been going on at the ACES Topica discussion board about a writer's use of "stronger" when saying a team is having "one of its stronger seasons."

Following the strict construction of the rule books, "strongest" would appear to be preferred because, after all, you're comparing more than two things. But as Bill Walsh so clearly points out, "one of its stronger" is idiom that essentially damns by faint praise -- another time the "rules" don't convey the nuance.

It's sort of like "bless his heart" down here in Dixie, as in, "He's such a scalawag, bless his heart."


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