Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nearly in half

When you cut something "nearly in half", how much do you have? Is it slightly more than half? That's what it is for me. I could possibly be persuaded that cutting to 47% was still "nearly in half", but really, I'm going to be thinking you meant, oh, to 55%. Maybe even 60%.

Which is why I'm still puzzled by this:
In May 2013, Uber charged customers a fare of $2.75 per mile (with an additional 60¢ per minute under eleven mph).... Uber has cut UberX fares nearly in half: to $1.10 per mile, plus 21¢ a minute.
That's a cut of 60% for the basic fare and 65% for the slow rate -  down to 40% of the fare and 35% of the slow rate. To me, that's not "cut UberX fares nearly in half". That's "cut fares by more than half."

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2 Comments:

At 10:19 AM, September 26, 2014 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

I agree.

Something that bothers me, although it's so common now it's useless to complain, is when someone says a thing is ten time smaller than some other thing. To me, that's completely illogical and, at least in mathematical terms, meaningless. There is no everyday quantity that can be multiplied by 10 and end up smaller.

 
At 11:37 AM, September 26, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Language isn't math, though. "Ten times smaller" isn't exactly English, but there are a lot of languages that use that construction - Russian, for instance, where you're twice as short instead of half as tall.

The thing for English is that we generally make our measurements with respect to the default or unmarked element - tall, old, big - not the marked one - short, young, small.

 

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