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Decimalisation of years

(37 Posts)
Londonmrss Sun 03-Feb-13 16:20:32

People on mumsnet like to day things like "My son is 2.7 years old."
Are they being incredibly precise and have worked out that their child is 2 years and 256 days, which happens to be 0.7 of a year? Or do they mean 2 years and 7 months and they have no understanding of what a decimal point is? This REALLY annoys me.

Phew. It felt good to finally say it.

VinegarDrinker Sun 03-Feb-13 16:24:36

Oooh I'm a newbie and I've been wondering this. I say 23 months or nearly 2. Writing 1.11 would just be wrong!

Jux Sun 03-Feb-13 16:41:10

I spent a long time wondering this a few years ago grin but realsed - after a while - that life was too short.

Then I 'made a decision' that they meant 2 y 7m and didn't worry about it again (though every so often, I see it and do a mental double take).

FWIW, I suspect most don't do decimals. Watch out though, as I'm sure there are some that do, and if you get it wrong......

Fenouille Sun 03-Feb-13 16:44:39

I don't like it either but as it seems to be the standard way of expressing age on here I finally gave in today and used it for the first time while tutting at myself under my breath

But then I also work somewhere where people use 17.7inches and the like. That really does make me itch.

AdriftAndOutOfStardust Sun 03-Feb-13 16:56:36

calm down and lighten up a bit. I have plenty of advanced qualifications demonstrating that I am fully able to understand the proper use of the decimal point. However, this is just an online forum and most of us only have a few mins snatched from when we are supposed to be doing something more productive to write our posts so we have developed useful abbreviations. We know that 99% of the people who read what we type will know that when we write "3.7yo DS" we are referred to a darling son who is 3 years and 7 months old - it's an accepted shorthand and scientific accuracy isn't particularly important in this context. I would probably be happy to use the shorthand at 3.10yo but would agree that 3.11 might look a bit odd so would be more likely to write "nearly 4" for those 30 days.

AMumInScotland Sun 03-Feb-13 16:59:26

They are using the decimal point to denote "and some fraction", in the same way that people write 2.30 for a time - it isn't two hours and 0.3 of an hour, we all know what it means. In the case of time, it's a convention that you mean "and x 60ths" after what looks just like a decimal poin. On here it's a cnvention that it means "and x months".

Just one of the lovely ways in which language adapts grin

plantsitter Sun 03-Feb-13 16:59:43

I have wondered this before. But if you say it's 10.33 you mean it's 33 minutes past 10 not 10 and a third. So I think of it like that (however I do try to advise using it in threads).

VinegarDrinker Sun 03-Feb-13 17:04:05

Surely it takes almost no longer (and is considerably more accurate) to type 2y4m than 2.4 though?

Ah well I expect I'll get used to it (and the obligatory D's) soon!

AdriftAndOutOfStardust Sun 03-Feb-13 17:11:00

Feel free to type 2y4m if you wish, no-one will moan or correct you. It's just that 2.4 would be understood to mean the same in a mumsnet context.
I promise that if I were writing an academic paper on some scientific subject requiring reference to the age of a small child I would use a different notation.

Londonmrss Sun 03-Feb-13 17:29:05

What if someone says 2.5 years? What do they mean?

I'm thinking a metric calendar and a metric clock would be easier for me to deal with. Now just need too change the gravitational pull off the sun etc...

WMittens Sun 03-Feb-13 21:15:13

If it's used in the context of 2y7m, it is not a decimal point, it is a* radix point and is correct notation. To be accurate it is a base-12 radix point; would that be called a dodecimal point?

*Or, another type of

SanityClause Sun 03-Feb-13 21:18:07

This is used by health professionals, not just on Mumsnet.

Perhaps you need to get out more? wink

Londonmrss Sun 03-Feb-13 21:19:57

Fair point Sanity!

CitrusyOne Sun 03-Feb-13 21:24:44

Re: time, I always thought it was a : not a .

So 2:30, not 2.30

Meaning 30 minutes past two?

Rather than a decimal point......

MortifiedAdams Sun 03-Feb-13 21:27:01

I use 1.1 to mean DD is one year and one month old. I don't think of it as a decimal point, more as an implied indication of "years and months".

And I would much rather see someone refer to their son as 3.3 than 39 months which I do think is a bit wankerish.

VinegarDrinker Sun 03-Feb-13 21:29:29

Sanity I've never seen it prior to MN and am a HCP (though not in paeds)

InMySpareTime Sun 03-Feb-13 21:33:34

I used it a lot in my BA in Early Years, it is the current shorthand way childcare professionals denote child ages, certainly in all the literature I read for the course.

VinegarDrinker Sun 03-Feb-13 22:14:41

Fair enough

VinegarDrinker Sun 03-Feb-13 22:17:01

Fair enough smile

VinegarDrinker Sun 03-Feb-13 22:17:56

InMySpareTime meant to ask, in thqt usage does it go up to 2.11?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 03-Feb-13 22:19:26

This used to annoy me when I first joined MN, but have taken to using it jut for ease.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 03-Feb-13 22:19:43


Londonmrss Sun 03-Feb-13 22:59:35

this one goes to eleven...

CaseyShraeger Sun 03-Feb-13 23:08:48

It's no different from using the notation DC, DD, DS or DH, IMO (oh, there's another one), or writing 37+5 to refer to stage of pregnancy (are you going to start another thread to the effect of "Are they '43 pregnant' or do they have no understanding of what a plus sign means?"?). You wouldn't do it in normal speech or writing, but it's fine on the Internet.

CaseyShraeger Sun 03-Feb-13 23:09:29

(or in technical publications)

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