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What makes something the best?


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I was thinking about this after looking at the "What exactly is the best anime?" thread. What makes something the best out of all there is? The definition of best is, of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality. But does that mean that there is no one best? Because if something is better than another thing, wouldn't something else come along and be better than that thing. So do we use "best" wrong?


I guess we use it to our standards of something. We might think this object is the best because is meets what we need or want. So when we state something as best, it's only correct to us but not to others. This was really just a rant but I also wanted to know what others thought. It's always nice to get another person's input, so what do you think?



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You could say that when something is the best its the best to our current state of mind or to our current life, but as we get older and change our perspective may change and something else is now the best in our eyes.

But i also think there will always be at least one thing we will always be in the mood for and our age and lifestyle wont matter. For me that is Lilo and Stitch the first movie.

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But does that mean that there is no one best?


That's correct, I think. There is no such thing as a "universal best". The "best" will depend on culture, time, place, ethnicity, and a billion other factors that will vary minutely from person to person.


So do we use "best" wrong?


We only use "best" wrong if someone believes that language is absolute, unchanging, strictly formal. However, in informal usage, the word "best" typically comes with an implied addition that makes it clear - "for me".


For example, if I'm going to a restaurant with a friend and I am unfamiliar with the food, I might ask, "What's the best thing that I could get here?" I would assume that my friend would not suggest lobster or shrimp, because she (I just realized that I have no remaining male friends, wtf) would know that lobster and shrimp aren't to my liking. The "for me" is implied. I don't have to say it.


Actually, there are other words and phrases that are similarly strange. Have you ever told someone something sad and then had them respond by saying, "Wow, I'm sorry to hear that." If you really think about it, it sounds utterly terrible. They're sorry that they heard something negative? Wat!? However, no one actually interprets it this way, because there's an implied add-on "this happened to you". So, what they're actually saying is fully sympathetic.


I studied linguistics back when I was in college. Ultimately, I decided to not make it my primary field, but I still find little things like this to be really intriguing.


Soooo, to answer the question directly - no, we do not use "best" wrong. Instead, it's the case that the dictionary definitions have not quite caught up to modern usage, which is actually quite common.


Just one more tangent - dictionaries are flawed. They are maintained by relatively elite members of society that tend to live in culturally isolated bubbles. As a result, dictionary definitions sometimes fail spectacularly to capture current language. The best place to find current language is in reading fiction/non-fiction and reverse engineering definitions out of the way that the words are actually used.

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Seriously? I gave you two days, it's Bewbs, the first thing I was going to say was bewbs.


Dude, everything has tits these days. If that's your only criteria, you're totally up shit creek.

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