The Compulsive Copyeditor

January 10, 2021

The Mostest with the Leastest

Filed under: Uncategorized — amba12 @ 2:29 pm

This is the kind of use of “most” that I most object to. (I know I’m repeating myself.)

Dammit, 56 percent is not “most.” It is “more than half,” or “a slim majority.”

I’m not sure where the “most” line is, but it feels to me like at least 70 percent. You?

To me, this use of the word is an exaggeration or distortion that amounts to a media lie. It’s driven by a belief that everything has to be extreme to command and deserve attention. Every hurricane must be hyped as a Cat 5, every earthquake as 8.0 or higher. Narrow margins are the new landslide.

1 Comment »

  1. The whole meaning of most is a classic priblem in logic, leading to the paradox of sorites and Zadeh’s development of fuzzy logic. It’s doubly hard when we’re talking about a poll result.

    Comment by chasrmartin — January 11, 2021 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

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