perimeter parameter

Sun14

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, my friends,

I came across these sentence in a book named Common Errors in English Usage:

”The two words shade into each other because we often speak of factors of an issue or problem being parameters, simultaneously thinking of them as limits; but this is to confuse two distinct, if related ideas. A safe rule is to avoid using "parameters" altogether unless you are confident you know what it means.“

I was wondering what does parameter exactly mean and if we avoid use it, which word should we choose.
 
  • Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    The WR Dictionary says:

    Usually,parameters. [plural] limits or boundaries;
    I find this misleading because it allows confusion with "perimeter"
    1. guidelines:Let's try to keep within the parameters of the discussion.
    2. something that helps one measure or determine how good, useful, worthwhile, etc., something else is; factor:Stock prices during a recession are a useful parameter for judging long-term success.
    Definition number 2 is the clearest. To take an example from science, the parameters for determining the volume of a quantity of gas are pressure and temperature.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The WR Dictionary says:

    Usually,parameters. [plural] limits or boundaries;
    I find this misleading because it allows confusion with "perimeter"
    1. guidelines:Let's try to keep within the parameters of the discussion.
    2. something that helps one measure or determine how good, useful, worthwhile, etc., something else is; factor:Stock prices during a recession are a useful parameter for judging long-term success.
    Definition number 2 is the clearest. To take an example from science, the parameters for determining the volume of a quantity of gas are pressure and temperature.
    Got it. Thank you very much.
     
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