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.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

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! – Kit Z. Fox Nov 7 '11 at 0:58
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 '14 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 '14 at 5:34

protected by tchrist Mar 20 at 12:32

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?