Greg Ritter on 13 Jan 2002 21:04:00 -0000

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

At 02:20 PM 1/13/2002 -0500, you wrote:

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.

The phrase isn't "half again." The phrase is "half again as many" as in "take as many as you have then take half that again."

I'm not arguing for the phrase; idioms are unclear because they depend upon locale. Although, I find the whole situation amusing because I couldn't even begin to count the number of times I've heard this phrase, and it's mind-boggling that someone doesn't get it. But then I'm sure folk up in the Northeast say all sorts of funny things, too, like "fuhgeddaboutit." And Canada! My god! They put gravy and cheese curds on french fries. I'm surprised they can speak at all after that. ;-)