When we are going to say the weather temperature is below 0 degrees we use X degrees below zero or minus X degrees, but what about the contrary case?

For instance we would probably say something like:

  • It's 3 degrees below zero centigrade today.
  • It's minus 3 degrees today.

I know we would use the structure: X degrees above zero, but the question is that whether we can use the similar case as is in "minus" case and use the construction like:

  • The tempreraure is plus i.e. 30 degrees C

When I search on the internet I don't encounter any sort of similar structure and it appears to me as if in "above zero" case, we can omit the adjective plus by default, because anybody knows that not mentioning below or above would mean it is plus as a default!

Do you confirm my take over this matter?

  • 1
    If the temperature has been hovering in the negative single digits, it's common to hear, Tomorrow it's going to be +2! (Or something like that.) – Jason Bassford May 4 '19 at 9:50
  • The question seems overly complicated. In its present state, it is like asking: We can say -1 times 1 is -1, but what if the first number is plus 1? The answer is that we almost always say, in that case, that 1 times 1 is 1. Only, you are taking about 150 words to ask it. If you are asking in a sort of abstract, theoretical sense, I really think this question belongs on ELU (though it probably still needs clarifying). If you are asking for a practical reason, I think it could be made sufficiently clear if you say plainly why you are asking. – Jim Reynolds May 4 '19 at 10:37

Without further context "It will be two degrees today" could mean "+2 degrees Celcius" or "+2 degrees Fahrenheit". You don't need to say "plus" or "above zero".

There is nothing wrong with adding a clarifying term, especially if you are comparing with below zero temperatures:

After three nights of frost, temperatures will rise and be above zero on Wednesday."

The temperature will be minus 4 in the countryside, but plus 2 in the city.

But if there is no comparison, you don't use "plus"

Temperatures will be cool: 8 in Glasgow, 10 in Cardiff and 13 in London.

The words "plus" and "minus" should be used to qualify numbers, and you should use "positive" or "negative" as general adjectives. You should say "a negative number". But this point is often not observed by native speakers, and "a minus number" is quite commonly heard.

  • Your answer is Betty good, just to clarify, "a minus number" is a poor language. Minus and plus are different terms from negative and positive. See also this discussion. – laugh salutes Monica C May 4 '19 at 20:19

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