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Cannot be under estimated

Mind that apostrophe.
Dod101
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Cannot be under estimated

#155763

Postby Dod101 » July 28th, 2018, 10:33 am

I see it all the time and I must be missing something. A police spokesperson said 'The efforts of the public cannot be under estimated'. Well actually they can of course. Is she stating a fact, that the public were utterly hopeless or is she really trying to say that the public's efforts were so great that they cannot be over estimated? Or maybe that the efforts of the public must not be under estimated?

Dod

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Cannot be misunderestimated

#155770

Postby UncleEbenezer » July 28th, 2018, 10:55 am

Lacks context.

What are we (the public) doing that's of interest to the police? Where's the full quote?

Dod101
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Re: Cannot be under estimated

#155775

Postby Dod101 » July 28th, 2018, 11:16 am

Well it was a vehicle accident and in the middle of the night in a fairly remote spot and members of the public arrived long before the emergency services, hence, 'I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who made valiant attempts to save casualties' lives - their efforts cannot be underestimated'. Well of course their efforts can be under estimated, as a matter of fact. What I assume the police spokesman meant was 'their efforts cannot be overestimated', or maybe I am missing something.

What she was saying literally was 'try as we will their efforts cannot be under estimated (no matter how hard we try to underestimate them)'

Dod

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Re: Cannot be under estimated

#155797

Postby PinkDalek » July 28th, 2018, 1:07 pm

This being Pedants' Place, would it be possible to be consistent on the correct spelling of underestimated and overestimated?

Having said that, here's a random article that agrees with you;

https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/can ... mated.html

It includes Of course, purists might say that even something large can be overestimated. .

Perhaps your example might better be written as 'their efforts cannot be overstated'.

redsturgeon
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Re: Cannot be under estimated

#155802

Postby redsturgeon » July 28th, 2018, 1:37 pm

Is the phrase she was looking for "should not be underestimated"

John

Dod101
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Re: Cannot be under estimated

#155804

Postby Dod101 » July 28th, 2018, 1:47 pm

Correct PD.

redsturgeon I think has got it . Of course it could be that it is misreported, but I am always finding things like that

How about this? The Daily News once ran a story claiming that half of the Members of Parliament were crooks. The government demanded a retraction. The editors were contrite and ran a story the next day assuring their readers that half the Members of Parliament were not crooks.

Dod

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Re: Cannot be under estimated

#155806

Postby swill453 » July 28th, 2018, 1:57 pm

PinkDalek wrote:This being Pedants' Place, would it be possible to be consistent on the correct spelling of underestimated and overestimated?

This being Pedants' Place, I would say consistency isn't enough.

Scott.

PinkDalek
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Re: Cannot be under estimated

#155812

Postby PinkDalek » July 28th, 2018, 2:46 pm

redsturgeon wrote:Is the phrase she was looking for "should not be underestimated"

John


It would appear that a writer in The New York Times Magazine agrees with you:

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/maga ... age-t.html

bungeejumper
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Re: Cannot be under estimated

#155954

Postby bungeejumper » July 29th, 2018, 1:06 pm

Dod101 wrote:The Daily News once ran a story claiming that half of the Members of Parliament were crooks. The government demanded a retraction. The editors were contrite and ran a story the next day assuring their readers that half the Members of Parliament were not crooks.

Ah yes, the logical double-back-flip approach to getting your point across. As in the old courtroom show-stopper: "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

It often amuses me, though, to see people getting their negatives in a twist. I remember, as a teenager, being perplexed by the T shirt being worn by a huge and hairy biker. "You ain't sh1t if you don't ride a Harley," it said. Never having had any real inclination to be considered as such, I made a lifelong decision never to buy one.

BJ

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Re: Cannot be under estimated

#156010

Postby marronier » July 29th, 2018, 8:27 pm

Can or cannot are often used incorrectly as they literally imply ability or inability e.g. " Can I borrow your car ?" Yes, you can borrow my car ,but you may not borrow it." You have the ability but not the permission.


"Ought not be underestimated " (implying obligation ) ; " should not be underestimated " ( implying intent ) would be better in the reported quote.


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