Ambiguity Is Sort of Like Something

Our society is pretty demanding, in terms of manufacturing. Just look at today's consumer products, particularly personal electronics and automobiles, and you can see how a small miscommunnication in a single measurement would make the product unsable.

The same thing can happen when we speak to each other. The imprecise use of a word or two can permanently damage our relationship with someone. So I am starting a campaign for lexical precision.

First on the chopping block are terms such as grundle, oodle, and scad. When dealing with concrete terms, these should be replaced with a numerical estimate.

Bad: There were scads of people there!
Better: It looked like there were a couple thousand people there!
Best: There were 2, 631 people there!

Okay, maybe the whole idea needs oodles of improvement.


Krista said…
It's true. When I come on shift and my patient's been pooping copious amounts of, well, poop every hour I want a more precise word that lets me know what to expect. Some nurses may describe it as "frequent bowel movements." I want to know how much how often. Wait . . . no, I don't. Nevermind. But I am now determined to use the word "scads" in my report to the morning nurse tomorrow. "The patient is having scads of poop. Enjoy!"

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