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Most established

Posted by Smokey Stover on May 27, 2006

In Reply to: Most established posted by R. Berg on May 26, 2006

: : : : I have written copy for a print advertisement which ends like this - "... you can be sure to receive the right solutions from Australia's largest and most established quantity surveyors"

: : : : Ad copy is not English literature. It is often gramatically incorrect and relies a lot on jargon. I believe 'MOST established' effectively conveys the historical significance of the firm we are promoting. I am seeking comments however, whether the term is could be perceived as nonsensiccal, and therefore inappropriately representing the firm.

: : :
: : : Grammar isn't my strong point, so I work on the "sounds right/sounds wrong" level. And "most established" sounds wrong because when I see the word "most" I want an adjective next, and if I don't get one, then I want to get a big fat red pen and cross out the word "most" and write "very" to see if that makes me happy. And "very established" sounds silly (because a company is either established or it isn't). So, in this round about way, I conclude that you should find some other way of saying "most established". Did you mean oldest? I assumed not, or you would have said that. Which is the other problem with "most established". Pamela

: : Forget the part about a company either being established or not, I've heard myself say something is a "well-established fact" so there must be degrees of establishedmentness. Pamela

: "Most established" isn't idiomatic English. You can say "best-established" (note the hyphen) instead, or something more immediately understood, such as "oldest" or "most reputable."

We've had discussions before of words which are "absolutes," that is, they can't really be modified by comparatives like most, very, less, or partial. In the earlier instance the discussion centered around "vacuum," a noun, and ended vacuously. (No, that's just a joke.) "Established" is a verbal, that is, a past participle used as an adjective. You can use some adverbs and adverbial phrases with it, like "long established," but "established" resists anything comparative, which is why it sounds wrong to all of us who have discussed it. ♪ SS ♪