Thursday, March 13, 2008
Another new meaning. Everybody is suddenly saying, 'do the math'. It's been picked up from the American election campaign. We don't say 'math', we say 'maths'. I think it used to be 'crunch the numbers' or something. That, too, was American. I'm not convinced of the need for 'do the math', but, if it is needed, I think we should go for 'do the sums' or, possibly, 'perpetrate the calculus'. I suppose the meaning intended here is , 'Don't be stupid, the numbers make the situation perfectly clear'. But, if put like that, one would immediately suspect the speaker of being a fool.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:33 am