1 second, but 0.1 seconds. It appears illogical and weird. What do you think, fellow members?

When we say 1 second, it is singular. When we say 0.1 seconds, it is plural.

English is weird, just as in the above example.

To me, it appears illogical. Do fellow members feel the same way?


To make it even weirder:

0.1 seconds = one tenth of a second

Even more weird is zero seconds.

It’s the same with other decimal or fractional numbers.

1 kilometer
0.5 kilometers
one half kilometer
zero kilometers
0 kilometers


Why do you say ‘0.1 seconds’, when it means one-tenth of a second and is less than one second?


Yes, it certainly makes you wonder, but I tend not to give any answers to that sort of question.

By the way Copilot of Bing gave a very nice example of ‘that sort of question’.

Once upon a time, in the mystical land of Syntaxia, there existed a peculiar oracle named Querius. Querius dwelled in a cozy cave adorned with glowing code snippets and stacks of ancient scrolls. The villagers would seek Querius’s wisdom whenever they encountered perplexing dilemmas.

One sunny morning, a curious traveler named Lex approached Querius’s cave. Lex had a question burning in their mind—a question that defied logic and tickled the edges of reality. With a humble bow, Lex addressed the oracle:

“Querius,” Lex began, “what is the sound of a silent scream?”

Querius, being an oracle, was well-versed in the art of enigmatic answers. The oracle leaned back on a stack of parentheses and pondered. The air grew thick with anticipation.

“Ah, dear Lex,” Querius replied, “the sound of a silent scream echoes through the void of uncompiled dreams. It resonates in the whitespace between lines of forgotten code. It is the hushed symphony of unspoken variables and semicolons lost in the abyss.”

Lex blinked, utterly bewildered. “But… but what does it mean?”
Querius chuckled, their eyes twinkling like nested loops. “Meaning, my friend, is an elusive butterfly fluttering in the garden of syntax. It flits between curly braces and dances upon the wings of recursive functions. To grasp it fully, one must debug the universe itself.”

And so, Lex left the cave, both enlightened and thoroughly confused. The sound of a silent scream haunted their thoughts, mingling with the rustle of leaves and the distant hum of compilers.

And that, my dear interlocutor, is an example of “that sort of question.” It exists in the liminal spaces where logic meets whimsy, where answers sprout wings and soar beyond mere comprehension.

Remember, in the realm of Querius, every question leads to more questions, and every answer is a breadcrumb toward enlightenment.

Nevertheless, I do not answer that sort of question.


It is weird and illogical and the way we do it.

If I were to hazard a guess, it would be that when you say “0.5” - “zero point five” or “point five” - you’re combining several number related words, and so it just “feels” like seconds should be plural. But this is just a guess.


So, what about noun verb agreement?

There is/are 0.1 minutes left on the clock.

My natural tendency is to say “There are 0.1 minutes left on the clock.”

Here is another one.

There was a 0.1 second difference in time between the top two racers.
The first racer has a 0.1 second lead over the second racer.


Arinker, what you really should never, ever do is guessing a woman’s age. I had this happening to me a long time ago:

-Marina: ‘Please, Marc, tell me how old do you think I am?’
-Marc: ‘I’m sorry, I can’t tell, I’m not good at predicting someone’s age’.
-Marina: ‘Please, please, please, tell me?’
-Marc: ‘No, I won’t and I’m telling you again I’m not good at predicting someone’s age!’

This kept going on for quite a while and since she Marina was so exceedingly persistent in me predicting her age, I became very irritated and suddenly I said: ‘Ok, ok, I think you’re 54’.
Don’t guess what happened. I’ll you.

She jumped up and was off to the mirror, being hysterical and shouting: ‘Oh, my God, do you really think so, oooo…I have to go and see a plastic surgeon.’ This went on for, what seemed to me, an eternity.
So, I tried to calm her down, by saying: ‘Dear, don’t get too excited, it might be fatal!’ You see I tried to put some humour into it, but it wouldn’t work. After while she finally calmed down and she told me her real age. The poor thing was only 41. I didn’t do it purpose; I’m just not good at guessing someone’s age, no, nor that of men.


These are acceptable, since ‘a 0.1 second difference’ and a ‘0.1 second lead’ are noun phrases telling you something about duration.

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I agree 100%. Never, ever guess a woman’s age. No good can come of it.


:grinning: As you can read.


If they ask, just think of the absolute youngest age they might be, then subtract another 5-10 years. The last time I did that she totally lit up with a huge beautiful smile for a reward. I knew she was roughly middle aged. I thought she MIGHT be under 40, but probably not. I thought there was no way she was under 35. So I guessed 30 for some added insurance. (she was actually 54).

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What a clever woman, a bit a like computer, therefore extremely smart…WYSIWYG! :grinning:

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Appearances are deceptive. What you see is NOT what you think you see!


Lawrence, ‘get’, dear, ‘get’. :grinning: But it’s true.


I think the expression here is: Appearances can be deceptive, but I’m sure you’ll agree, that in a situation like that one might get the Heisman after WYSIWYG!

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