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Kidney stones, adjectives and hyphens


Photo illustration from NuevaCare website

I drink a particular brand of sports drink in hot weather so I don't get dehydrated. I want to avoid dehydration because in the short term I get those feels-like-I'm-getting-stabbed calf cramps in the middle of the night, and in the long term I get kidney stones.

So I'm looking at the label on an empty bottle of this sports drink today and it says: "We've raised our game with better tasting flavor."

And I thought, Hmmmm. Isn't that redundant? What's wrong with just saying "with better taste" or "with better flavor?" At first I was inclined to attribute the redundancy to a lazy writer. At first.

Then it hit me: first, the "better" modifies "tasting," so this leads the reader's brain to register a positive thought about the drink: It's "better tasting."

But then we have "better tasting" modifying "flavor." Those three words combine to form another positive thought. This seeming redundancy means the positive connotation of "better" hits the consumer twice, as in better taste and better flavor.

The lack of a hyphen, which is clearly needed between "better" and "tasting," enhances this two-positive-thoughts-in-three-words payback. By that, I mean a hyphen would wed "better" to "tasting," but the lack of a hyphen allows "better" to smear its meaning all over "tasting" and "flavor."

None of that means anything to me in terms of which drink I choose. I buy based on the color of the drink. The flavors all taste pretty good anyway.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
anita_margarita
Jul. 21st, 2014 12:34 am (UTC)
You and me and my mother would notice that, but probably no one else.
patrick_vecchio
Jul. 21st, 2014 12:37 am (UTC)
It's like a curse.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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