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  1. #1
    LiuJing is offline Member
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    Default a relatively lower price?

    I have learned the standard usage of 'relatively' is: relatively + adj. in its original form.

    My question is: do a lot of native speakers say something like 'the market has relatively lower prices' as widely-accepted non-standard English, as acceptable as 'different than...'?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: a relatively lower price?

    Quote Originally Posted by LiuJing View Post
    I have learned the standard usage of 'relatively' is: relatively + adj. in its original form.

    My question is: do a lot of native speakers say something like 'the market has relatively lower prices' as widely-accepted non-standard English, as acceptable as 'different than...'?

    Thank you.
    Yes, it is widely used, but it's not correct.

  3. #3
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: a relatively lower price?

    Why is it not correct?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: a relatively lower price?

    "Relatively low prices" = "prices lower in relation to an unspecified number of other markets". "Relatively lower prices" needs a "than somewhere".

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: a relatively lower price?

    I assume the context makes that clear. Is there anything grammatically incorrect about "relatively lower prices"?

    I like shopping at Wegmans. They have relatively lower prices on the things I buy most often.

    I would assume that it means "lower than the other stores that are in my area."

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding the question.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    LiuJing is offline Member
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    Default Re: a relatively lower price?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I assume the context makes that clear. Is there anything grammatically incorrect about "relatively lower prices"?

    I like shopping at Wegmans. They have relatively lower prices on the things I buy most often.

    I would assume that it means "lower than the other stores that are in my area."

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding the question.

    The rule, relatively + adj. in its original form, was taught when I learned comparative and superlative grammar stuff. My teacher told us to treat it as something like less + adj. in its original form. For example,[ I feel less cold now], not [I feel less colder now], hence it is not correct to say I feel relatively better now. That 's what my teacher said when giving out the explanation on the rule: relatively or less is a word of comparison already and it doesn't need to be followed by another comparison. However, it seems people do say [I feel relatively better now] as Mr. bhaisahab has admitted, although it is deemed non-standard by scholarly folks.
    Last edited by LiuJing; 29-Jun-2010 at 19:54.

  7. #7
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: a relatively lower price?

    I don't understand why this would be non-standard.

    Relatively is an adverb. Adverbs modify adjectives. Lower is an adjective.

    If the rule is that relatively can only modify a non-comparative forms of adjectives, it's a rule I've never seen.

    It's a synonym for "somewhat."


    She seems happier these days. Well, somewhat happier, anyway.
    She seems happier these days. Well, relatively happier, anyway.

    A: Everything is so expensive here!
    B: Yes, I know. Groceries are very expensive, but I shop at Wegmens. The prices there are lower. Well, relatively lower. Things still cost a lot.

    I think all those paintings are pretty ugly. There's not many I would want hanging on my walls. I could live with that one though. It's relatively prettier than the others.

    All of these are incorrect?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. #8
    LiuJing is offline Member
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    Default Re: a relatively lower price?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I don't understand why this would be non-standard.

    Relatively is an adverb. Adverbs modify adjectives. Lower is an adjective.

    If the rule is that relatively can only modify a non-comparative forms of adjectives, it's a rule I've never seen.

    It's a synonym for "somewhat."


    She seems happier these days. Well, somewhat happier, anyway.
    She seems happier these days. Well, relatively happier, anyway.

    A: Everything is so expensive here!
    B: Yes, I know. Groceries are very expensive, but I shop at Wegmens. The prices there are lower. Well, relatively lower. Things still cost a lot.

    I think all those paintings are pretty ugly. There's not many I would want hanging on my walls. I could live with that one though. It's relatively prettier than the others.

    All of these are incorrect?

    I made several google searches and found this one:
    BP boss Tony Hayward admits job is on the line over Deepwater oil spill | Business | The Guardian

    Beginning lines:

    Tony Hayward, the beleaguered chief executive of BP, has claimed its oil
    spill in the Gulf of Mexico is "relatively tiny" compared with the "very big ocean".

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: a relatively lower price?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I don't understand why this would be non-standard.

    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "Relatively low prices" = "prices lower in relation to an unspecified number of other markets". "Relatively lower prices" needs a "than" somewhere.
    I (initially) shared Barb's confusion; bhaisahab's post [edited to make sense ] explains. But I think the elision of the 'than' will always be explained by the context.

    b

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