Learn English – “There is no doubt this is arguably wrong”


This is from a review of something:

There is no doubt that the (product name) is arguably the best consumer (product category name) currently on the market.

I stopped for a while after reading that sentence. If there is no doubt it is the best in class product, then why is the word arguably in there? Is this just plain wrong grammar or is there some justification for this? I think there's a conflict in logic of this sentence.

Edit: Maybe I should provide more context. The rest of the review supports the notion that it is the best in class product and there is no irony or sarcasm in the sentence.

Best Answer

Fairly obviously there can be multiple X's, any or all of which may be 'arguably' the best X. To qualify for that designation they only have to be capable of being argued for – they don't need to actually be the best.

Equally obviously there may be some X's which are so bad they're not remotely capable of being considered for 'best', and some other X's that are so good no-one would deny they're at least in contention, even though only one can actually get the top rating.

So – strange as it may seem on first reading – there is no doubt OP's sentence is both grammatically and semantically sound. Though we still don't know whether the product in question really is the best - that needs to be established by argument.

Thanks to @Peter Shor for pointing out what seems an eminently plausible rationale for the unusual phrasing. The writer intended inarguably. There's still the tautology of inarguably repeating the sense of There is no doubt, but pointless repetition is a feature of much "persuasive" writing – particularly in advertising (and product reviews, which are often incestuously related).

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