## Thursday, March 31, 2011

### Don't Count On It

This blog is more or less focused on ways that we as grown-ups can use the elementary math we learned as a kids.

Today the subject is the phrase Don't Count On It. A related phrase is Don't Count Your Chickens Until They Hatch.

What do we mean by these words? Are these math-related phrases, discussing the process of Addition? Or not? What are we trying to communicate?

I checked a variety of sources. Here's what they said:
• Do not assume it is going to happen
• Don't depend on it
• Don't depend on someone or something, especially in a difficult situation
• Wait until you see it before you believe it
• Wait for the evidence rather than jumping to a conclusion
• One of the 20 possible phrases given by a Mattel Magic 8 Ball
• A book by John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group (Read an excerpt)
• An article on the Latin American Piraha tribe who don't have numbers in their language
• Equivalent to "Let's just be friends" when said by the other person in a wanna-be romantic relationship
• Fat chance
• Keep on dreaming
• Not likely!
• Cha skrunee da pat (the Huttese phrase as spoken by Jabba the Hutt, in Star Wars)
• A line from Please Tell Me Why by the Dave Clark Five
• And finally, it's a puzzle that holds money but doesn't let you get to it.

This is the most enlightening definition I found, on a site aimed at people using English as a Second Language:
• Don't Count On It is almost a definite no, with a very slight chance things could be different. That chance is so small, that you would be better off saying probably not. When you say I wouldn't count on it it's another way to say you're betting the odds are 99% on no.
The phrase apparently means "No" without coming right out and saying it. Or in math terms, we could say it's Approximately Equal To No.