New users: Please register in the usual way and then send an email to jasper(at) with your username, and write something 'Ffordesque' so we know you are a real reader, and not some idiot trying to flood the forum with dodgy Nike and Gucci gear. Thank you - Jasper

Still having trouble? Click Here for a guide to the Fforde Fforum

last updated : April 11th 2010

The Big Over Easy : The fastest message board... ever.
For chat regarding the new Jack Spratt investigation 
Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Math Error Too
Posted by: Jared (
Date: September 02, 2005 06:12AM

In Chpt. 30, "Another Press Conference" Hector Sleaze asks Jack: "can you also confirm that you have the lowest investigation/conviction ratio of any department in Reading?"

That should of course be "conviction/investigation ratio."

Re: Math Error Too
Posted by: Haylo (
Date: September 02, 2005 09:35PM

Of course. 'Nitpicker of the month'(tm) goes to you along with a luxury virtual hamper.

Re: Math Error Too
Posted by: robcraine (
Date: September 03, 2005 09:31PM

It is not impossible that the press, or indeed the police, have got it wrong. So Jasper may have intentionally placed the error in Hector's mouth.

Rob, trying not to be concious of his grammer

Re: Math Error Too
Posted by: delacuesta (
Date: September 04, 2005 01:05PM

I'm not so sure on this one. This is language, not maths. The slash is a punctuation mark, not a mathematical sign meaning "divided by". Moreover, the slash is not said, only written. Is "first-thing second-thing ratio" always "first-thing divided by second-thing"? I don't think so. The words investigation and conviction are in logical and chronological order (referring to the actual events they denote), and this order may be preferrable in speaking language, even though the normal mathematical order is lost in the written form. Mr. Fforde could have used a backslash (\) to make it unambiguous, but then a backslash is not a normally accepted punctuation mark. The slash may be the closest punctuation mark to what is meant, but alternatives are welcomed. Would a plain blank be better?



Re: Math Error Too
Posted by: SLIGHTCAP (
Date: September 05, 2005 12:20AM

First of all, a ratio means " first thing divided by the second thing" whether a colon, a slash, or the word "to" (probably the best choice in this case) is used.
Second of all, the order only matters if you are going to compare it with someone else's ratio, and even then the first order doesn;t matter and second one just has to match the first.
And third, it could just be that no one really cares either way, and the reporter was just trying to make a point that Jack's record was pretty crappy.

Post Edited (09-05-05 01:59)

Re: Math Error Too
Posted by: robert (
Date: September 09, 2005 12:35AM

It would only be a 'maths error' if the calculation was incorrect (and someone else had a lower ratio). As it stands however, it is a grammatical error.

Re: Math Error Too
Posted by: literaryloser (
Date: August 22, 2006 06:50AM

Invesigation/conviction is right, you have to investigate before you can convict.

SpecOps-27 Wordage is our business Grammar is our game.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.