November 1st, 2010

Interesting words

"Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful."
Charles Darwin

129 - new, newer, newest

I want to expand on "newer" after posting a few words on my facebook page.

After the football game on Saturday I walked past a sign that advertised apartments and listed the amenities. You know, things like "lake view, three bedrooms, etc." One of the amenities was listed as "Newer Kitchens." It got me thinking about the oddity of that use.

We know the paradigm: new, newer and newest. If you get a new car and I get a newer car, that means that I have one upped you in the new car stakes and that mine is more recent than yours. Right?

So if you advertise an apartment and say "New Kitchen," I would expect to see a place with an unused kitchen (new appliances, cupboards, flooring, etc.)

But if you advertise a "Newer Kitchen," then you are saying that you have an older kitchen than a new kitchen, but not an old kitchen. So a kitchen installed in 2010 would be a new kitchen; a kitchen installed in 2007 would be a newer kitchen. Right?

How in the world did the comparative of "new" turn into a word that actually means "older"? And why do we immediately recognize what is going on with that use of the word?

I knew right away that they were saying the kitchen had been used for a few years but wasn't the same kitchen your grandma had.