Rob Speer on 13 Jan 2002 19:20:32 -0000

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Re: spoon-discuss: Re: spoon-business: Darn zero-based Clock... (nweek 4 ballot)

On Sun, Jan 13, 2002 at 07:59:34AM -0500, Greg Ritter wrote:
> At 11:18 PM 1/12/2002 -0500, you wrote:
> >Encarta World English Dictionary's 3rd definition of "again", with 
> >example:  3. IN
> >ADDITION in addition to a previously mentioned quantity * <i>You'll need 
> >all that
> >and half as much again.</i>
> American Heritage Dictionary: "half again as many (or much) One-and-a-half 
> times more; 50 percent more."

Well, I'd hardly say it's well defined if American Heritage Dictionary
can't even be consistent about it. One-and-a-half times _more_ is 150
percent more, or 2.5 times the original.

I realize that's probably not what they meant, but it's what they said.

I asked a friend of mine from Quebec (yes, his native language is
English). He had never heard the phrase either, but assumed it meant
"one-quarter as many" - which would make sense; you take half, and then
half again.

So, putting these together:
By my friend's interpretation, a proposal would require a 1/5 majority.
By my interpretation, a proposal would require a 1/3 majority.
By the intent of the rule, a proposal would require a 3/5 majority.
By many people's reading, a proposal would require a 2/3 majority.
By the AHD's erroneous definition, a proposal would require a 5/7 majority.

That's quite a range.
Rob Speer