One of my biggest pet peeves is when people misuse math. It took me many years to get out of the habit of correcting people’s English, a habit that I learned from having an English teacher for a father. Now, my bane had moved toward’s the mathematical illiterate.
Here are some examples: Bill Cowher, former coach of the Steelers used to say quite often, “He will be out a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks.” Well, Bill, no he won’t. He will be out a MINIMUM of 4 weeks. He may be out longer than that but he will be out at least 4 weeks. Add to this approximately 10- 12 months. For my money that’s approximately 11 months. Maybe more maybe less.
I heard in a commercial recently that something was more perfect. Impossible! Perfect is as good as it gets. Throw in the duplicity of a perfect circle and I may go off the deep end. If it isn’t perfect it simply isn’t a circle! Much like being perfectly square! With apologies to Pat Boone, it’s either perfect or its not a square.
Don’t even get me started on the misinterpretation of political polls! Or calculating odds!
My point is that these things make me nuts for a reason: As much as I like to be creative in my writing and thinking, there are times when preciseness is called for and laziness in speech is not acceptable. Language is our most prolific form of communication and a little forethought would be appreciated.