I'd like to adjust my definition to include the concept of comparison. Math provides us with the means to compare and evaluate the world around us.

While there are subtleties which require us to use a wide range of comparison terms, the simplest comparisons could be narrowed down to two choices.

- This object is the same as that one.
- This object is not the same.

A much more satisfactory comparison can be made using three terms. In essence, we are still using the single comparison as well, but we are leaving that comparison unspoken.

- This object is the same as that one
- This object is better than that one (therefore it is not the same)
- This object is not as nice as that one (thus it too is not the same)

Kindergarten Excel Math starts off not with numbers, but with comparison words that a 5-year-old person could use. The table below contains a variety of these sets of words used by English-speaking people of all ages. I invite you to think of more terms:

Minus | Equals | Plus |
---|---|---|

less than | equal to | greater than |

lower | same height | higher |

below | same height | above |

shorter | same height | taller |

shorter | same length | longer |

narrower | same width | wider |

under | middle | over |

bottom | middle | top |

left | middle | right |

thinner | same thickness | thicker |

inside | on the line | outside |

off | midway | on |

before | during | after |

fewer | same | more |

fewest | same | most |

least | same | most |

different | similar | identical |

front | middle | back |

forward | not moving | backward |

in front of | aligned with | behind |

younger | same age | older |

This concludes my list of comparison terms. But before I leave, here's a gift for those who insist on numbers in every math blog. Your assignment? Describe the relative positions of these three numbers using at least 3 sets of comparative terms from the table above:

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