Smaller and smaller

I read this sentence on an early issue of SpeakUp: “As a wide receiver you’re one of the smaller guys on the field.” I’d like to know what degree of ‘smallness’ is exactly meant by the comparative ‘smaller’; in Italian we would use the superlative ‘smallest’ since the comparison here is between more than two. Thank you very much for your kind attention.
From a grammatical point of view you are right: technically, we should be talking about “one of the smallest guys on the field” but in this context “one of the smaller guys” is fine. We can also say “it was one of Shakespeare’s better plays,”  “it wasn’t one of her better ideas.” It is a question of style: “one of the best” and “one of the smallest” are more specific (it could be two or three): “one of the better” and “one of the smaller” are less specific (say, five or six, although there is no precise number, of course).
Also, in the case of American football players, who are physically enormous, the word “smallest” would sound strange!

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.