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Journalism

Am I Missing Something Here?

Or has post-modernist ambiguity come to the news pages of the Wall Street Journal?  The following "Corrections and Amplifications" note does nothing to correct or amplify:

Corrections & Amplifications:

Passage of Measure 66 would increase Oregon's personal-income-tax rate by nearly two percentage points for the state's richest taxpayers. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it would increase the rate by almost 2%.


I'm alarmed to learn, after half-a-century of speaking and writing English, that there is an important distinction between "nearly" and "almost" that no one has ever explained to me.

Categories > Journalism

Discussions - 5 Comments

There is, in many cases, a great difference between a rate increase of 2%, an a rate increase of two percentage points. For example, an increase in rate from 8% to 10%, an increase of two points, would be a 25% increase in rate.
I'm sure you've gotten many comments on this, but just in case....

Dictionary.com shows "almost" and "nearly" as synonyms.

I'm perplexed.

I suspect they meant to correct the number, not the word.

Actually this is a common mistake. Two percentage points is rarely the same as 2%. The change from 50% to 52% is two percentage points, but the percent change is calculated (52*50)/50 which is 0.04 or 4%.

Ron, Don and Mike: Thanks for your help. I see the problem in the original article, now, and why it was corrected.

I'm teaching methodology this term, and I'll remember this!

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