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November 10, 1906

Bad English.

JAMA. 1906;XLVII(19):1579. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02520190059016

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Philadelphia, Oct. 30, 1906.

To the Editor:  —May I call attention to two very common instances of faulty English which I am constantly meeting in letters, in print, and in conversation? One is the assertion that "the patient had no temperature." I presume that the writer does not mean that the patient's temperature was zero, but that he had no rise of temperature beyond the normal. Certainly a temperature of 98.4 F. is universal in the well. Any rise above that should never be called "temperature," but a "rise of temperature," or "no increase of temperature." If temperature falls below 98.4, to 97 or 96 F., how would those who speak of any rise above 98.4 F. as "temperature" designate such a fall—"less than 'no temperature'"?The other instance is really an atrocious misuse of the language. I constantly hear it used orally. In a recent letter occurred the phrase,

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