A grumpy old man writes...
During my recent travels and in an attempt to sate my excitement prior to the World Cup I have been poring the sports pages of various newspapers in detail. A recurrent theme was intense irritation at the terrible treatment received by both logic and the English language at the hands of public figures and journalists.
One cannot give 110%. It is physically and practically impossible. Yet in one edition of a newspaper-which-shall-remain-nameless I counted no fewer than 11 references to a commitment greater than 100%. Wayne Rooney was 300% sure he would be fit for the World Cup, John Reid was "150% going to sort out" the Home Office and England's players were going to struggle to give 110% for an entire game in sweltering conditions.
Aside from the fact that 100% should surely be the physical maximum for any human I find such a cavalier approach to descriptions to devalue the value of our communication. How, for example, do we meaningfully refer to complete commitment? We cannot say that, to use a football analogy, a player always give 100% since we become so familiar with commitment which is apparently greater than 100% that it seems somehow deficient. How hard is it to understand you cannot physically commit more than 100% and that within those 100 percent there is a ready-defined scale of commitment?
PS: but mustn't life be tedious and miserable for some of us? My own view on the game? Job done. Sven, as I guessed he would after the early goal, was happy for the England side not to exert itself too much. Not my preferred tactics, nervy for the fans, but fine given the three points.