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What's the difference between these two sentences?

  • This movie is hardly as interesting as that one.
  • That movie is almost more interesting than this one.

I would like a native speaker's opinion on this.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Brian Hooper, J.T. Grimes, anongoodnurse, choster Jan 2 '14 at 15:46

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  • 1234, in my opinion that phrases are completely different from each other, the former implying, differently from the latter, the movie is less and less interesting. – Elberich Schneider Jan 1 '14 at 14:06
  • As a native speaker, I've never heard nor used either of these expressions. You'd more commonly say'this movie is not as boring (or interesting) as that one' and, in the second example, 'the other movie was marginally less boring (or interesting) than this one'. But I'm English and in the UK, could be different in the States. – bamboo Jan 1 '14 at 14:13
  • The sentences are similar in the sense that they are very confusing and quite unlikely to ever be said by a native speaker, especially the second one. They are different in that they mean different things (once you take the time to figure out what they actually mean). The first means that it is unlikely that movie A is as interesting as movie B; the second means that movie A is probably equally interesting as movie B—almost, but not quite, managing to be more interesting. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 1 '14 at 14:30
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Neither sentence would be commonly used. Because of the uncommon construction, it's reasonable that there is a reason for using it: it's a rhetorical device.

The first sentence is an example of litotes, understatement. The literal meaning is that "this movie" is not as interesting as "that movie": the intended meaning is that it is far less interesting.

The second sentence could be taken the same way. There is a literal meaning, that "that movie" is almost, but not quite, as interesting as "this one". The intended ironic interpretation is probably that neither movie is particularly interesting.