On Writing: Giving 110% 24/7

If I hear one more person say he is going to give a hundred and ten percent, I think I’ll scream or vomit or do something equally repulsive.

What does it mean, anyway? A hundred and ten percent of what? Once you go beyond one hundred percent, you get into a form of mathematics that I know nothing about. It could be a hundred and ten percent of two hundred percent, which isn’t good. Or it could be a hundred and ten percent of one thousand percent, which is worse.

Unless you flunked remedial math, in which case you might have an excuse for your ignorance, you should know that you cannot give more than one hundred percent. That is the maximum. I’m not certain it is even possible for a person to give the maximum effort. Your energy and fluids and muscles would be so debilitated that you might not be able to recover. But if it were possible to give a maximum effort, the world would be a great place to live because of all you special people.

The only expression ghastlier than a hundred and ten percent is 24/7. When speaking of a business, it might apply, but when it is used for a person, as in “I work twenty-four seven,” it becomes impossible. The only thing a person can do 24/7 is breathe, and with sleep apnea being so prevalent, a lot of people don’t even do that 24/7. You certainly can’t work 24/7. What about sleeping? Eating? Defecating? All these activities subtract from that 24/7. (If you continue to work while on the toilet, I don’t want to know about it.)

There is nothing wrong with hyperbole. It is an acceptable literary form. But please, if you must hyperbolize, be inventive. I’m certain that if you try you can come up with something even more annoying than giving a hundred and ten percent 24/7.

3 Responses to “On Writing: Giving 110% 24/7”

  1. Suzanne Francis Says:

    My own pet peeves: any noun that has been verbized, such as “Please ‘toilet’ your child.”

    Also anything described as “the gold standard.” What does that even mean?

  2. Bertram Says:

    The currency of a lot of countries, including the United States, used to be backed by gold. This gold standard made for a stable economy. So when something is described as a gold standard, it should mean it is solid, but who knows what the person using it really means.

  3. Bertram Says:

    “Intestinal fortitude” is another one that grates on my nerves. “Guts” is better than that. Or plain old fortitude.

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