Is anyone else bothered by idioms like "twice as close" or "twice as small"? I understand what these phrases mean and how they're used to indicate the inverses of "twice as far" and "twice as big", but they still bother me. If (A) is two miles away and (B) is one mile away, (A) is twice as far away as (B), but (B) is 50% closer than (A), not "twice as close". If distance in miles is the metric for "closeness", how can "twice" and "50%" mean the same thing? "Twice as far" indicates that the magnitude of the distance to (A) is 200% the magnitude of the distance to (B). The concept "twice" should be independent of what is being measured. If (A) is "twice as floober" as (B), then we should know to take the magnitude of (B)'s floober and multiply by two.

Do other languages have corresponding idioms that make illogical use of "twice" or other relative modifiers?



Email blogmasterofnoneATgmailDOTcom for text link and key word rates.

Site Info