I think this sentence in a children's book is grammatically incorrect

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Basically, it's a person's recitation of a law of nature during class in this work of fiction:

"Golpalott's Third Law states that the antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components."

It baffles me because the person reciting this is also taking the in-world equivalent of a math class, and grammatically speaking, I am so very sure that the bolded portion of the law is incorrect. I am tempted to think that either this "Golpalott" person was not very versed in mathematical literature, the person reciting it wasn't either (or else, she'd be able to spot the error), or the author herself sucked at math. In short, it gives me a lower opinion of the person reciting it, because she's supposed to be the smartest student in her year. Thoughts? Contradictions?
 

phinds

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Basically, it's a person's recitation of a law of nature during class in this work of fiction:

"Golpalott's Third Law states that the antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components."

It baffles me because the person reciting this is also taking the in-world equivalent of a math class, and grammatically speaking, I am so very sure that the bolded portion of the law is incorrect. I am tempted to think that either this "Golpalott" person was not very versed in mathematical literature, the person reciting it wasn't either (or else, she'd be able to spot the error), or the author herself sucked at math. In short, it gives me a lower opinion of the person reciting it, because she's supposed to be the smartest student in her year. Thoughts? Contradictions?
You need to make up your mind what your gripe is with. Your subject line questions the grammatical correctness of the statement and the body of your post questions the factual correctness of the statement, grammar aside. Which is it?

By the way, the statement IS gramatically correct. I have no idea if it is factually correct.
 
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Which is it?
I was asking if it was grammatically correct.\

I brought up the person's math background not because it was related to the statement in question (because the statement, in fact, applies to the in-universe equivalent of chemistry). But it just didn't seem, at the time I wrote this, like it would make sense if I said, for example, that five is equal to more than the sum of one plus one.

In short, the statement "__ is equal to more than __" does not seem to make much sense math-wise. But I will admit that it's no reason for it to not make sense in other respects.

By the way, the statement IS gramatically correct.
But I am glad, anyway, that you have cleared this up for me. Thanks.
 
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PeroK

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I was asking if it was grammatically correct.\

I brought up the person's math background not because it was related to the statement in question (because the statement, in fact, applies to the in-universe equivalent of chemistry). But it just didn't seem, at the time I wrote this, like it would make sense if I said, for example, that five is equal to more than the sum of one plus one.

In short, the statement "__ is equal to more than __" does not seem to make much sense math-wise. But I will admit that it's no reason for it to not make sense in other respects.



But I am glad, anyway, that you have cleared this up for me. Thanks.
This is supposed to be humorous, surely? "Golpalott", as in gulp a lot.

I searched on line and found it's from Harry Potter. I suspect that as far as grammar is concerned J K Rowling knows what she's doing.
 
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I'm still trying to get to grips with the verb 'bolded'. This is an observation, not a criticism. 'Emboldened' is possible, but is open to misinterpretation. As for 'bolderize' (as in italicize)? Oh, forget it.
 
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Basically, it's a person's recitation
Grammar is a funny beast - Grammarly and Word often compete when I'm proofing my novels, each telling me the other is wrong in a flip-flop fashion if I accept one or the other suggestion - but dialog especially need not be grammatically correct, and often reads better when it isn't.

Indeed, proper English, fully enunciated and following the so-called laws of grammar seems very stilted and formal to most of us these days. And I say 'so-called' because some of the laws people promote don't even apply to English. You don't end a sentence with a preposition in Latin, but you can end that way in English: "Who is he going to the movies with?"

I'm still trying to get to grips with the verb 'bolded'.
Me too, but I did a quick Google Ngram - see image - and it's been in use for a few decades now, though clearly not commonly (plus, Google's data set is getting stale. I think the last Ngram update was 2012 but that doesn't even make it into the public viewer).

BTW @Dr Wu, bolderize did not plot so that's even less common 😉
 

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I'm still trying to get to grips with the verb 'bolded'. This is an observation, not a criticism. 'Emboldened' is possible, but is open to misinterpretation. As for 'bolderize' (as in italicize)? Oh, forget it.
"Bolded" and "emboldened" have different meanings, with "bolded" usually used in the context of printed text, and "emboldened" usually used to describe an emotional state. I have bolded the preceding text. I was at first fearful, but became emboldened to write this reply to your post.
 
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In short, the statement "__ is equal to more than __" does not seem to make much sense math-wise.
I see your point. This is a somewhat clumsy way to say "is at least." We could say that 2 + 4 "is at least" 5.
 

phinds

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I see your point. This is a somewhat clumsy way to say "is at least."
Not quite. "is more than x" implies "cannot be x" whereas "is at least x" does not imply that. In pseudo code that would be ">" vs ">="
 
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You're right -- the "will be equal to ..." part threw me off. I should have said that "will be equal to more than" is equivalent to "will be more than," which, in addition, is less obfuscating.
 

Klystron

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Basically, it's a person's recitation of a law of nature during class in this work of fiction:

"Golpalott's Third Law states that the antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components."

It baffles me because the person reciting this is also taking the in-world equivalent of a math class, and grammatically speaking, I am so very sure that the bolded portion of the law is incorrect. I am tempted to think that either this "Golpalott" person was not very versed in mathematical literature, the person reciting it wasn't either (or else, she'd be able to spot the error), or the author herself sucked at math. In short, it gives me a lower opinion of the person reciting it, because she's supposed to be the smartest student in her year. Thoughts? Contradictions?
I have never read Rowling including her adult-level fiction but one cannot judge fantasy prose using logic. Formulae (magical spells) are supposed to be funny, ironic and a mnemonic for other things. Stilted grammar is part of the fun.

In this case the author may be making an arch reference to Koch's postulates on infections or any one of numerous Chinese and Roman texts on elixirs. The author is likely correct that binary and synergistic poisons require more/different antidote than the individual constituents would merit.
 
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"Bolded" and "emboldened" have different meanings, with "bolded" usually used in the context of printed text, and "emboldened" usually used to describe an emotional state.
Precisely.
 

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