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Remainder Reminder

Oddvar Jakobsen pointed out (from the shores of Lake Tanganyika) a logical error in my interpretation of the word pilgrim this past Thanksgiving. In particular he wrote:

“It gives a non-English speaker some consolation to notice the occasional stumbles a word professor may experience. Or am I wrong in finding it funny that those of the pilgrims who did not survive the first winter in America, actually survived and multiplied and built a nation.”

He goes on to quote the offending passage from the Good Word as it was mailed out: “Only half the 102 original Pilgrims survived their first winter at Plymouth. The remainder, with strong support of local Native Americans, survived to multiply and, joined by many others over the succeeding years, spread across the continent to build a nation.”

He goes on to say, “What I mean to say is that, if a portion of a population survives, the word remainder would logically refer … to the portion that does NOT survive. That population that did not survive, has NOT multiplied, but nevertheless been joined by very many others who died in quite different circumstances, but they did most likely NOT build a nation.”

Point well taken. I confused remainder with “those remaining” which, of course, is not the meaning of the word. I have since corrected the error as a result of Mr. Jakobsen’s keen sense of logic.

2 Responses to “Remainder Reminder”

  1. bnjtokyo Says:

    The comment reminds me of the riddle about an airplane crash exactly on the border with Canada. The question is “Where do you bury the survivors?”

  2. Dr. Goodword Says:

    Had I heard this one, it might have helped me avoid my own gaff

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