1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Minimum vs Minimal

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Rumwriter, Nov 19, 2011.

    In this sentence:

    This is because you have turned what should be the intention of great care and high quality into a job performed solely for quick profit and less than minimal standards.

    I think minimal is correct, but should it be minimum instead?
     
  2. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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  3. SnappyUK
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    SnappyUK Member

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    I would have used minimum, but according to my Collins Concise Dictionary, I'd have been wrong. It says 'minimum' is a noun and 'minimal' is an adjective, so your sentence is correct from that standpoint. I'm less comfortable with the absence of the word 'at' (or similar) after your final 'and', however, since the existing sentence has the 'for' referring to both 'quick profit' and 'minimal standards'.

    Also, do your ' minimal standards' refer to the care taken, or the quality of the work? I'm not clear which, or both, are being referred to. Either way, is one of them redundant? Would you not take 'great care' in order to ensure 'high quality', so the latter is implied by the former?
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, the difference is adjective vs noun...
     
  5. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    You people are fast. :p
     
  6. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    minimum.
     
  7. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    But in English you can modify a noun with another noun -- "minimum wage", for example -- so "minimum standard" is grammatically fine. The important thing here is that the meanings of "minimal" and "minimum" are different. "Minimal" means very low, "minimum" means "as low as possible" (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English). "Less than minimum standards" is therefore an oxymoron; you would have to say something like "less than minimum acceptable standards".
    Agreed. I also wonder about "less than". I wouldn't refer to something as less than standard, I'd describe it as below standards or failing to meet standards.
     

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