Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Save up to 50% off!

Is this correct? To me, it makes it sound like a double-negative, of sorts; you are saving something that has been reduced, therefore increasing it, if that makes any sense. Anyhow, would it be more correct to say this?

Save up to 50%!

share|improve this question
3  
The meaning is clear enough to me. If there were ever any dispute about it, I suppose it would be for a court to decide. –  Barrie England Nov 6 '11 at 20:27
2  
This phrasing bothers me as well. It makes it sound as though English has the compound verb "*save off," which is just silly. It could be improved with a simple comma: Save, up to 50% off! –  KitFox Nov 7 '11 at 0:58

4 Answers 4

up vote 13 down vote accepted

It's not mathematically or grammatically correct - but its meaning is clear enough.

"Save up to 50%!" or "Savings of up to 50%!" would be correct.

Unless they are trying some subtle legal trick of actually reducing the discount from 50% to 25% and claiming that they are telling the truth and that halving the saving is "saving 50% off".

share|improve this answer
4  
It's best to ignore such claims anyway, and look at the price tag. –  Barrie England Nov 6 '11 at 20:37
3  
Save upto 50%, the discount is 1% - well that's less than 50% and we did say "upto" ! –  mgb Nov 6 '11 at 20:39
    
I think in most US jurisdictions they are required to have something that is 50% off or else they are doing false advertising. –  jprete Nov 6 '11 at 22:41
    
On what basis do you say it isn't grammatically correct? –  curiousdannii Nov 26 at 8:20

Save up to %50 off

is just pleonastic, not a double negative.

Yes, it would be simpler to say

Save up to %50.

or

Get up to %50 off.

In the first statement, you're not really able to parse it as an object of '%50 off' in one direction which you then 'save' in the other direction. They just reinforce each other, but the extra 'off' is not really needed.

share|improve this answer
1  
It doesn't seem ungrammatical to me. I read up to as an adjective modifying the noun 50% off which I read as the amount of the reduction. That amount is indeed what you will save, and it will be 0% - 50% of the benchmark price. I can see why people think the off is superfluous, but I think it's quite clever, actually. Gets your attention, at least! –  FumbleFingers Nov 6 '11 at 22:58

Yes, it's redundant. You could say, "Save up to 50%", or "Up to 50% off" and it would mean the same thing.

As someone noted, be careful of any add that says "up to" 50% off. The only thing that statement actually promises is that they won't give you a discount of more than 50%. I take it for granted when I see such an ad that there is one item in the store that is 50% off, and everything else has considerably smaller discounts.

share|improve this answer

It's bad english. Overkill. It's funny over-stating something can dilute the intended message.

share|improve this answer
2  
Where I was schooled, “bad english” is autological due to its manifest submajusculation. –  tchrist Jan 15 at 5:34

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.