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I was talking to a friend who is in Sweden and I remember last month it was too cold, and snowing there. So today I asked him

Howz winters? Any reduction in cold?

Is that correct English? I feel using "reduction" is not that appropriate. May be there could be better word or sentence for it?

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  • How's winters? is acceptable in casual speech but is not correct English. On the contrary, reduction is correct but rather formal. Keeping to the same register, you might say "Any less cold?" "Any milder?" "Temperature gone up at all?" Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 9:40
  • Is it any less cold? Have the cold eased up? Have the cold let up a bit? [reduction? — no :) ]
    – Levente
    Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 21:32
  • I don't think this should be closed... it's a valid question about word usage with enough context to answer.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 15:48
  • This winter would be: How's winter there? reduction in temperature would mean colder but it sounds like a refrigeration company.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 16:35

2 Answers 2

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I might have written:

Is it any less cold?

The first two words make it read somewhat formal and a playright might have used this line to make it colloquial:

Any less cold?

More open-ended questions might be:

What’s the temperature like?

How’s the temperature?

How are the “temps”

What’s the “mercury” like?

Mercury being the mildly toxic, liquid metal in thermometers of the prior couple of centuries.

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The combination of "reduction" and "cold" is a little awkward, since a reduction in cold would be an increase in hot. The words "hot" and "cold" are antonyms (similarly, so are warm and cold). More typically you would see:

Any increase in temperature?

Or

Is it any warmer?

The main reason you don't see "reduction in cold" or "reduction in warm" is because of the additional effort to understand the direction the temperature is changing in absolute terms. For example, "reduction in cold" means the temperature increases. A "reduction in warm" means the temperature decreases. We have specific words for these changes in temperature: colder and warmer/hotter.

These two phrases cause the listener or reader to pause for a moment to convert a negative into a positive ("reduction" to "increase"). People tend to think "increase" if the temperature is becoming warmer, as indicated in your sentence.

Other adjectives that give you a similar issue are:

  • High/low
  • Up/down
  • Left/right

Many adjectives can have the "er" suffix added to make the meaning more concise:

Is it warmer?
Is it hotter?
Is it higher?
Is it lower?

However, it is incorrect to add "er" to the words "left" or "right". Instead, of "lefter" or "more left", you might say:

  • "more to the left side"
  • "more towards the left side"

Someone else might be able to quote the grammatical rule about why left/right is different. Then again, this is English, so the words left and right might simply be one of many exceptions to the rule.

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  • Using Is it any warmer would be appropriate? A few weeks back it was snowing. So let's take the temp to be 0 C and I know it will be max 4-7 C now which is also pretty cold. So is asking Is it any warmer correct? As the sentence has the word warm, and it's certainly not gonna be warm at 4-7 C
    – nicku
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 5:59
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    @nicku: using Is it any warmer would be correct, even if the temperature went from 0 C to 3 C. The end temperature does not need to feel "warm" to anyone. The word "warmer" implies a comparison between two temperatures. It is a relative description. Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 13:11
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    As another example: "I can't drink my coffee right now, because it is too hot. I will drink it when the coffee is colder". The word "hot" is an absolute description of temperature. The word "colder" implies a comparison between the original "hot" temperature of the coffee, and the resulting temperature after waiting a few minutes. The word "colder" does not imply I will be drinking cold coffee. The coffee could still be "hot" in absolute terms, but comfortable to drink now that it has cooled off. Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 13:15

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