*up to —- off and more.
This bit of illogic crops up fairly often in print ads and store signs. At a sale touted as offering up to 50% off and more, for example, all we know is that the sale price is (1) less than 50% off, (2) 50% off, or (3) more than 50% off. The number itself, then, is meaningless and serves only as bait in big, bold type. The small type, as usual, taketh away.
Versions of the phrase appear in places other than signs announcing sales — e.g.:
o “Some lakes and forests devastated by acid rain will likely take up to 70 years or more to recover.” Mark Weiner, “Region’s Acid Rain Recovery Goes Slow,” Post-Standard (Syracuse), 26 Mar. 2001, at A1. (A possible revision: “Some lakes and forests devastated by acid rain could take 70 years or more to recover.”)
o “Use live bait or cut bait for yellow perch up to 1 1/2 pounds or more.” Deane Winegar, “Fishing Report: Freshwater,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 30 Mar. 2001, at D4. (A possible revision: “Use live bait or cut bait for yellow perch up to 1 1/2 pounds (possibly a little more).”)
*Invariably inferior form.
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Quotation of the Day:
“Some neologisms, which at first are considered forced or inelegant, become sanctioned by use, and in time are quoted as authority in the very language which, in their early stage, they were imagined to have debased.” 3 Isaac D’Israeli, Curiosities of Literature 27 (1858).