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Which is correct:

  • Today is one of the warmer days this month.
  • Today is one of the warmest days this month.

I hear the first used almost exclusively on television news.

2 Answers 2

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Both are grammatical, but they mean different things.

The first supposes that several days this month have been warmer than the others, and that today is one of them. For example, the temperatures on 2, 8 and 19 September have been 16, 14 and 23 degrees and the temperature today is 18 degrees. All the other days in the month have been cooler.

The second supposes that several days this month have been the warmest this month, and that, again, today is one of them. For this to be true, the temperature today and several other days must all have been, for example, 20 degrees, when the temperature on all other days has been lower.

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  • Good answer. The only thing I would add is that speaking informally, "warmest", by comparison, sounds warmer than "warmer". :-) Sep 26, 2012 at 2:30
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    @KristinaLopez: It does. I suspect most people don't really make this distincion anyway. Sep 26, 2012 at 5:54
  • Your explanation of the second assumes that the superlative form must refer to an identical value. But is it true? For example, when you hear "He's one of the fastest runners in the world", do you assume that "he" and other "fastest runners" must have the same record?
    – JK2
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:17
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A superlative adjective is just that, and there can only be one warmest day. A day can be warmer than another, but in any given period, there is only one warmest day, just as there can be only one best, tallest, largest, busiest, etc. I think this is the most common error I hear--you notice I didn't say "This is one of the most common errors I hear," because that is not the proper use of the superlative vs comparative.

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    Hello Lisa, welcome to EL&U. What you say is true but, as Barrie England says, if there are three days on which the temperature was 23 degrees and all the others were cooler then those three days were the warmest days of the month. If three olympic sprinters crossed the line together in first place they'd all get gold medals, it's much the same.
    – BoldBen
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:00
  • @BoldBen Also if one of those 3 days was warmer than the other two then it would be the warmest and one of the warmer, but agreed it cannot be "one of the warmest" as there can only be one warmest. Jun 19, 2019 at 10:06
  • @PeterJennings unless a number are equally hot and hotter than all the rest.
    – BoldBen
    Jun 20, 2019 at 21:41
  • Fowler's entry on "one" contains a treatment of the use and misuse of the expression "one of the ...est" but has no mention at all of using the comparative degree in this way. I take it to mean that "one of the ...er" is not correct in any case.
    – dclxvispqr
    Sep 11, 2022 at 19:31

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