plus-minus zero

perpend

Banned
American English
I wrote this, and now I think I'm making it up, or translating it from German.

Let's say you had a bunch of experiences in a certain area, and after having experienced them you say: Overall, it was plus-minus zero.

This is meant to mean that it was neither overly positive, nor overly negative.

Does it make sense?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    It doesn't make any sense to me, perpend. If we were talking and you dropped that one into the conversation, I'd have to ask you for an explanation. Maybe it will make more sense to mathematically-minded people. I'm sure not one of those. :)
     

    Oahawhool

    Member
    New Jersey 70's English
    in english In English, we call that 'i got I got nothing from it'
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    dadane

    Senior Member
    English (London/Essex)
    If you look at it from a mathematical viewpoint, it means it was absolutely precise with no possible error, so that doesn't work.

    I did however grasp your intended meaning of 'Overall, it was net zero-ish' straight away.
     

    mojolicious

    Member
    English English
    It's difficult without any context, but if I was writing about my culmulative 'emotional impression' of a number of events then I'd use phrases such as 'it all evened/balanced out'. Obviously this is rather colloquial; a construction using 'neutral' would sound more analytical.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Thanks bunches. I now realize that I have this stuck in my brain from German, so I was forcing it.

    Your contributions have made me think I mean: It's right in the middle.

    Thanks for the thoughts, mathematically and lesser maths. :) Excellent.

    EDIT: Hi Oahawhool, #7, I don't quite mean it in that way, but thanks, nonetheless.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Like it. Thanks, CopperKettle. This is about a sequence/series of experiences, but "zero-sum" is a great term.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This usage exists in Dutch, so I had a hunch about the meaning before I read your explanation. Seeing the context on a screen also helps, but I'm sure that the man in the street (as well as owlman - post 2) would have to ask you to explain if you used this in conversation.
     

    dadane

    Senior Member
    English (London/Essex)
    Fair point soundshift, I'm the English half of a half-Dutch household, this probably explains why I instantly understood the meaning too.
     
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