Numbers are like, haaard

So I mentioned the other day in one of my posts that the academic subject that involves numbers and the art of combing them to create other numbers here is referred to as Maths. In a sentence:  I am glad the VAT is included in prices here as I was never good at maths.  One of my wise friends here says it is because it is the short form for Mathematics which does indeed include an ‘s’.  God knows why we dropped it and refer to it as Math but now I proudly add an ‘s’ when talking to locals to make me sound smarter.

Anyhoo that reminded me of a few other ‘maths’ or at least number related terms I have learned here.

1) Trebled :  The hubby was telling me a story about how he was reading the Financial Times (the paper for people smart at maths) and he noticed a spelling error in the headline as it had said that profits trebled at a particular company  – he figured that they had meant tripled and we had a good chuckle at the error by the smart paper.  At which point a nice (eavesdropper) on the tube actually corrected us (yes, we are getting used to it) and said that trebled is actually a word and that it follows on naturally from the word double…ie doubled, trebled. I still think it sounds like someone is pronouncing tripled wrong.

2) Nought: A colleague was telling me how a particular industry had seen growth of naught point 5 percent.  At which point my American colleague called out, it had NOT percent increase doesnt’ that mean it didn’t have an increase.  Being a seasoned Brit I kept my mouth shut (for once, I know) and let it be explained to him that nought is equivalent to zero here and is often quoted in percentages below 1 .  Consequentially, it is also used in the game of tick tack toe which is actually named noughts and crosses as per today’s cartoon in the paper, see, I am not lying.


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