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    #1

    Below zero temperatures in America

    Negative 9, negative 11, these are the temperatures in two places in the US. I have just heard it on the news, and would probably not query it if the temperatures described as ‘negative’ were without any digits, just negative – sub-zero.

    Is ‘negative 9’ interchangeable with ‘minus 9’ in America?

    There is no question of understanding the ‘negative 9’, it’s just something I have never come across, and not so sure I can use it. Probably yes, as it was reported by a pro, but I would rather say that the temperatures of minus 9 were recorded. ‘Negative 9’ sounds a bit odd to me.
    The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.
    Mark Twain

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Below zero temperatures in America

    In the United States we use the Fahreinheit scale. Zero degrees Fahreinheit is minus 17.777 degrees Celsius. Minus nine degrees Fahreinheit is minus 22.77 degrees Celsius (Centigrade). I believe negative is the same as minus here. (Like you, I am not used to "negative" in this context.)

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Below zero temperatures in America

    I am also more familiar with "minus" temperatures, although "negative" does occur. We also hear "below zero" or sometimes just "below". Last night it was 15 below.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Below zero temperatures in America

    Actually, to be precise, zero degrees Fahreinheit in Celsius is minus 17.777777777777 (to infinity).

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    #5

    Re: Below zero temperatures in America

    'To infinity?'

    Let's not go there.

  4. Jill Dorchester's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Below zero temperatures in America

    Suffice to say, here in Michigan we've hit below zero temperature records in the past few days. In other words, it's freakin' COLD!

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Below zero temperatures in America

    It was minus 10 in Chicago last week.

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    #8

    Re: Below zero temperatures in America

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    'To infinity?'

    Let's not go there.
    And beyond!!!

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    #9

    Re: Below zero temperatures in America

    The general rule for rounding is that if the number is followed by 5 to 9 then we round up where we want to stop leaving the last (preceding) digit alone. In the above case of 17.777, it would have been 17.778 as the actual temperature was 17.7777 (the sequence continues ad infinitum).

    I am not being pedantic, nor am I obsessive about digits, and noticed it instantly, but making grammar errors myself (nerve-wracking comma) I did not feel it would have been right to correct.

    Having said that, I am chuffed to bits that I could read some additional interesting comments which always help in learning more than you’ll ever know.

    BTW, those blizzard conditions now swept in from the Atlantic to some parts of northern England. It is usually the west part of the UK so wet as there are mountains (The Pennines) which separate North-West from North-East, forms kind of a natural barrier and catch some flurries. But it hasn’t been as bad as in the US, and we often have alerts with a layer of just a few millimetres of snow which puts a smile on my face (well, better to be safe than sorry).

    Britain has gone metric, but some still (rarely) use Fahrenheit, even though it's been half a century now, and on some websites you can or have to choose between F and C. You are lucky to only have F over the pond.

    Do people stick to imperial units in the US when they state their height or weight, like in most cases in the UK?
    The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.
    Mark Twain

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    #10

    Re: Below zero temperatures in America

    Fahrenheit is superior for everyday use because the range from 0 to 100 covers the normal experience of the typical person. 0 F is really cold. 100 F is really hot. The rest of life typically falls somewhere in between.

    Americans use the customary, traditional "English" measures for just about everything in everyday life. We use feet and inches for height. Pounds for weight (we never got into stones for that). Miles for distances. Ounces and pints and quarts and gallons for volume.

    In certain areas you do see metric measures, like medicines. You buy painkiller tablets that are 500 mg.

    And beverages like soda pop come in 2 liter bottles. Though I suspect that transition was eased because 2 liters is a little more than 2 US quarts. It was like getting a little bit extra. You can also find 1 liter and half liter bottles of water or pop. But you also find 20 ounce bottles that are bigger than a half liter or pint. Or 24 ounce bottles.

    Milk is sold by the gallon and half gallon. Ice cream is traditionally sold by the half gallon as well, though those containers have shrunken to 1.75 or 1.5 quarts, instead of 2.

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