Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Redundancies and Misleading Statements

When I've taught statistics, I've mentioned that one should not say, ". . . at least two, maybe more." There can't be more than at least two, which, of course, means two to infinity! Yet one hears people, often sports announcers, say such a redundancy quite a bit. Speaking of sports, as I am wont to do, announcers sometimes exclaim, "They've won their last five in a row!" Hey, if it's their last five, I'm sure they were in a row! Another superfluous word is found here: "So the Cubs have beaten the Giants by a final score of six to four." Can you win by a non-final score?

Somewhat off the subject--a freebie, if you will--but another caution I have passed along to my students: When an offer instructs, "If you order in the next fifteen minutes, you'll receive a second CD absolutely free," understand that they don't say that after fifteen minutes you won't get that extra CD! That commercial was probably played yesterday and will most likely air tomorrow, not to mention next week. They're simply using twisted logic or the fact that many don't really understand the logic or lack thereof to try to induce you to buy--in particular, right away.

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