Textbook speak

I just ran across the following problem in a business math textbook:

"Joe, at age 35, decides to invest in a retirement account. He will put aide $2000 per year for the next 30 years. How much will he have at age 65 if his rate of return is assumed to be 10% per year?"

Don't you love that "assumed to be"? It is:

1) Completely unnecessary. The authors could have just said "if his rate of return is 10% per year."

2) And it makes the answer indeterminate. Assuming a rate of return of i% doesn't make Joe anything! Only if his rate of return is i% will he make money!


  1. It's because of language nitpickers like you that we have the Verbal section in the SATs...

    1. The thing is, no one would normally speak this way. People say to their friend, "What would you do if your salary was a million dollars a year?" They would never say, "What would you do if you salary were assumed to be a million dollars a year?"

      This is an effort to "talk fancy."


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