Parties and peeves

It’s an exciting week in the Coles & Lopez office! Daisy’s sister – who also happens to be my best friend – is getting married, so we’re both busy prepping for bridesmaid duty. As a result, I have precious little time to devote to writing a proper blog post. Instead, I’m going to answer a reader question: “What’s your biggest grammatical pet peeve?”

Believe it or not, there’s only one thing that really makes me cringe whenever I read or hear it. It’s this:

I’m going to put 110 per cent into writing my speech for the reception.

I support this marriage 110 per cent.

I’m 110 per cent sure that you’re going to make each other very happy.

I can't stand it!

I can't stand it!

If you want to convey maximum effort/support/certainty, you should say “100 per cent”. You can’t get any higher than 100. Whenever I hear “110 per cent”, I just think, “Why not 120? Why not 150?” You’re doing the opposite of what you want to do – you want to describe a maximum, but instead you’re opening up the possibility of a percentage higher than 100, which means there’s no upper limit, which means the maximum that you’re trying to describe doesn’t exist.

There are plenty of situations in which it’s appropriate to talk about percentages higher than 100: when your annual profit is 150 per cent what it was last year, when your website traffic is up 300 per cent, etc. But when you’re not dealing with actual statistics – when you’re just trying to convey a maximum – 100 is it.