Second time right, Mariella: two point one nine lies a day, NOT two point nineteen!

Mariella Frostrup presents Radio 4 programme on children lying

Two point one nine lies a day, or two point nineteen?

I am writing this as I listen to a BBC Radio 4 programme on children lying, presented by Mariella Frostrup. I was infuriated to hear her say that ‘people tell on average two point nineteen lies a day’ and relieved when she repeated this statement later, saying ‘two point one nine’.

I was taught in school that digits after the decimal point (well, I shall not lie, ‘decimal comma’ it was in what was then called Rhodesia in the 1970s) should be stated as individual numbers. This makes sense. Consider Ms Frostrup’s ‘2.19 lies/day’. What if this were written as ‘2.190’? This would imply a greater degree of precision, but it would not connote a larger number, though ‘two point one hundred and ninety’ sounds as if it should be a larger number than ‘two point one nine’.  Please, it is ‘two point one nine’, or ‘two point one nine zero’ if you know the figure is accurate to three decimal places.

Thanks to Ms Frostrup for finally giving me the kick I needed to take action on this issue, which has been annoying me for decades. Please, teachers and broadcasters, take note.

 

About biowrite

I am a writer specialising in non-fiction, particularly in assisting people with their biographies.
This entry was posted in Education, Language. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s