Be wary of “dangling comparatives”

“Larger, Better, Faster, Better-Tasting.  Advertisers frequently employ such terms in an effort to make their product stand out from the crowd.  In a recent ad, makers of New Ban Intensely Fresh Formula deodorant claimed it ‘keeps you fresher longer.’   One might be forgiven for thinking they meant it keeps you fresher, longer than the competition.  But, as a competitor complained to the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division, they meant fresher than Ban’s old formulation. ”

“A dangling comparative occurs when any term meant to compare two things — a word such as ‘higher,’ ‘better,’ faster,’ ‘more’ — is left dangling without stating what’s being compared.”

“When you hear a dangling comparative term such as ‘more’ or ‘higher,’ always ask, ‘Compared to what?’  The answer may surprise you — and keep you from being fooled.”

unSpun, finding facts in a world of disinformation by Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson

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