November 16, 2006

Too Many Adjectives Can Spoil the Latte

Okay, so I'm in Starbucks the other day, and I'm behind a woman that is participating in the "latte adjective marathon". She orders a: grande, decafe, non-fat, extra hot, extra foamy, double-shot, carmel macchiato! Whew! I was tempted to tell her that the non-fat milk was cancelled out by the fat content in the carmel, but who am I to deny this woman's moment of pleasure? The funny thing is that no one behind the counter, batted an eyelash with her order. I am the next one in line, and I order a, "Tall Latte". Everyone looks at me like I just grew a Pinocchio nose! I know we've always been a society where more is better, but when it comes to descriptive adjectives it seems that there is a descreasing benefit after about three. Have you ever read a paper where the solution was described as efficient, robust, and cost-effective? The eyes usually glaze over after about two. Anyway, how did we turn the word "grande" which means large in Spanish, into the new English version for medium?

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