Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    212
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default 'not hot' vs. 'cold'

    Dear Friends,

    A linguist said the other day:

    'Not hot' means 'less than hot' rather than 'cold'.

    Hm. Do you all agree?

    Thanks a lot.

    Palinkasocsi

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'not hot' vs. 'cold'

    Quote Originally Posted by palinkasocsi View Post
    'Not hot' means 'less than hot' rather than 'cold'.
    Probably. But it doesn't mean anything by itself. Use it in a sentence.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    212
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'not hot' vs. 'cold'

    If I say 'the water is not hot' - would you definitely exclude the meaning: the water is cold? Because this is what the linguist meant. According to him it can only mean the water is "less than hot" and not 'cold'.

    P.

  4. #4
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    22,297
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'not hot' vs. 'cold'

    Quote Originally Posted by palinkasocsi View Post
    If I say 'the water is not hot' - would you definitely exclude the meaning: the water is cold? Because this is what the linguist meant. According to him it can only mean the water is "less than hot" and not 'cold'.

    P.
    The water is not hot is equivocal it doesn't necessarily mean that the water is cold. If you want to indicate that the water is cold, then it is better to say The water is cold.

  5. #5
    lovefrance is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Vietnamese
      • Home Country:
      • Vietnam
      • Current Location:
      • Vietnam
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    17
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'not hot' vs. 'cold'

    this topic is interesting!
    it seems to be like " little " and "no little"

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,473
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'not hot' vs. 'cold'

    Quote Originally Posted by palinkasocsi View Post
    If I say 'the water is not hot' - would you definitely exclude the meaning: the water is cold? Because this is what the linguist meant. According to him it can only mean the water is "less than hot" and not 'cold'.

    P.
    No. As bhaisahab said 'The water is cold' is clearer; but in some contexts 'it is not hot' could mean 'it is cold': 'the water is not - on the contrary, it's freezing cold'.

    By the way, what is 'a linguist' in this case (Is it someone who can never be wrong? Is it someone who pontificates about the meaning of words without considering context?...)

    b

  7. #7
    vil is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Bulgarian
      • Home Country:
      • Bulgaria
      • Current Location:
      • Bulgaria
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5,000
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'not hot' vs. 'cold'

    I'm not a teacher.

    Hi palinkasocsi,

    'Not hot' means 'less than hot' rather than 'cold'.

    It is most likely that you gave us an inkling of “lukewarm” = mildly warm; tepid,(moderately warm) ”

    Regards,

    V.

  8. #8
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5,892
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'not hot' vs. 'cold'

    Quote Originally Posted by palinkasocsi View Post
    If I say 'the water is not hot' - would you definitely exclude the meaning: the water is cold? P.
    That's the idea; Unfortunately it doesn't always play out in the real world. For example, Max is checking the temperature of the water running out of the kitchen faucet, while Sam, who is in the basement, is adjusting the water temperature:

    Sam: Is the water hot now?
    Max: No. It's still cold.
    Sam: What about now, is it hot?
    Max: No. It's not hot.
    Sam: Is it lukewarm at least?
    Max: No, it's still running cold.

  9. #9
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,527
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: 'not hot' vs. 'cold'

    Quote Originally Posted by palinkasocsi View Post
    If I say 'the water is not hot' - would you definitely exclude the meaning: the water is cold? Because this is what the linguist meant. According to him it can only mean the water is "less than hot" and not 'cold'.

    P.
    It's really a simple matter of logic. The words don't really matter, since we all know what hot and cold mean - they are points on a temperature spectrum.
    It can apply to any spectrum, such as tall/short; near/far, fat/thin.
    In none of these cases does "not X" mean "Y".
    The only time you can apply the rule "not X" -> "Y" is when you have two mutually exclusive categories into which an object must fall.
    eg. male/female, dead/alive (assume you're excluding transsexuals and zombies).
    In these cases, "not X" implies Y and "not Y" implies X.
    Hot and cold don't fit this rule.

    NB: Note however that, in continuums, although "not-X" doesn't imply Y, it doesn't exclude Y either.
    So, not-hot coffee can be cold, but not simply by virtue of being not hot.
    Last edited by Raymott; 14-Sep-2008 at 16:39. Reason: Add NB

Similar Threads

  1. cold
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-May-2008, 08:06
  2. break out in a cold sweat
    By angliholic in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-Feb-2008, 07:39
  3. it was more cold, it was colder
    By joham in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-Dec-2007, 20:00
  4. Cold Turkey
    By clare in forum English Idioms and Sayings
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-Mar-2005, 06:07

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •