One Pet Peeve

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I thought today I'd write about something that drives me crazy. It's only one of many things that do that to me, but one that I happened to notice this morning.

I see in a lot of places where people say or write something to the effect that something is X-times less or fewer or smaller than something else. Just this morning I read that scientists have developed a brush 1,000 times finer than a human hair. This is a mathmatical impossibility. Something can't be anything "times" smaller than something else. It can be a fraction of the size, amount, etc., such as 1/1,000th of the size, etc. That works but not 1,000 times smaller. Anything 1,000 times anything else would have to be larger.

I see this in the news media, and ever increasingly even in scientific journals. It's more than just poor grammar, it's not logical or mathmatical.

'Nuff said.

About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Tuesday, May 16, 2006

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