# re: Need Evaluation Of A Usage Pointpage 5

•  279
"Times the number by a thousand." Is this construction: (1) Rural/regional? (2) Childish/illiterate? (3) Jargonistic? (4) Pondially differentiated? It came up in a document here at work yesterday and I want to know if I'm out of line to demand it be reworded..r

I'd say 2.
I've only ever heard it uttered by pre-pubescent schoolkids.

"I've got to learn my times tables".

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
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R.H. Draney: I'd say either 2 or, on the grounds ... you frequently do, 3. Obviously, Adrian Bailey's experience is different.

Mr Draney's too, by all accounts. Adrian

I conclude we're being trolled. Is it possible someone can be as dumb as this Adrian Bailey person appears to be? Nah, someone's just playing with us.

Charles Riggs
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John O'Flaherty typed thus:
{snipped}

To my co-workers from India, by the way, "into" indicates multiplication. If they said "4 into 90", the answer would be 360.

I had a Nigerian calculus teacher who used 'into' that way, mostly in contexts of distribution- c(a+b)= ca+cb was c into a+b.

That was entirely standard at my school (where we had no Nigerian teachers).

David
==
a

I'm sure you know what you're talking about, but perhaps you'd care to explain.

It's surely stretching it to claim that "multiply" is "the specialized or technical language of a trade, profession, or similar group".

I didn't make that claim. My claim referred only to arithmetical uses of "multiply", which you can usually spot by the presence of the word "by".
Non-mathematicians use it regularly, both when talking about thearithmetic operation ("The cost per person is \$30. When you multiply that by the number of people in the group, it's quite a lot of money"),

Just because non-mathematicians use it doesn't mean it's not jargon. But, hey, if my use of the word "jargon" is rubbing people up the wrong way so much, we don't need to use it. I used it to make a distinction between technical and non-technical uses of a word, whether the technical use is commonplace or not. Like the word "degree" when used in reference to temperature or angles. We need the word if we want to be precise, but if we don't want to be, there is the option of relating to ordinary experience and saying things like "it's freezing cold"; "it's boiling hot", etc.
and general increase in numbers ("The local rabbit population has multiplied dramatically in recent years").

That usage is not under discussion, though it is somewhat of an affectation in everyday speech. cf. "There's a lot more rabbits than there used to be."

Adrian Bailey wrote on 12 Aug 2004:
I didn't make that claim. My claim referred only to arithmetical uses of "multiply", which you can usually spot by the presence of the word "by".

I want to know why you assume that "everday speech" is generally sloppy and illiterate sounding, Adrian. Is it because most of the people who use everyday speech are also sloppy and illiterate? That would be my conclusion. I would never say "There's a lot more rabbits than there used to be". I'd have to say "There are a lot more . . .", so I guess I'm affected.
And while I may use a couple of the quaint and folksy expressions that I'd generally associate with people like George W Bush, I never say things like "it's freezing cold" or "it's boiling hot". I'd say "it's freezing" or "it's cold" or "it's hot as hell", but those cutesy little redundancies are not part of my idiolect.

I don't know about you, but I have most certainly refined the kneenglish I learned from my mama when I was small enough to sit on her lap and learn things from her.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
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CyberCypher premed:

John Dean wrote on 12 Aug 2004: Zippo

Karl.

Markie und Deutsch. CDB
"Times the number by a thousand." Is this construction: (1) ... if I'm out of line to demand it be reworded..r

I'd say 2. I've only ever heard it uttered by pre-pubescent schoolkids. "I've got to learn my times tables".

However, the term "times tables" I don't think is markedly childish, although the term "multiplication tables" is also used. I can see a parent saying "My son is in third grade and still hasn't learned the times tables".
"times tables" 57,300
"times table" 33,800
"multiplication tables" 49,700
"multiplication table" 34,400
("times it by" only gets 2,000 hits compared to 40,000+ for "multiply it by".)
-Chris
Chris Kern typed thus:
However, the term "times tables" I don't think is markedly childish, although the term "multiplication tables" is also used. I can see a parent saying "My son is in third grade and still hasn't learned the times tables".

To my my ear, like the gerund, tables are possessed. I would say "My son still hasn't learned his times tables". Or, talking to a child: "Do you know your tables yet?" or "Do you know your seven times table yet?"

David
==
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Chris Kern typed thus:

However, the term "times tables" I don't think is markedly ... in third grade and still hasn't learned the times tables".

To my my ear, like the gerund, tables are possessed. I would say "My son still hasn't learned his times tables". Or, talking to a child: "Do you know your tables yet?" or "Do you know your seven times table yet?"

Yes, I was about to post the same comment but I stopped to ponder the possible reason. I haven't come up with an answer. Is it something to do with the way we talk to/about children? I don't think I would use the "times" unless referring to a specific multiplication table, though. But it seems a very long time since I've had any conversations on this topic.

Laura
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