1

Here is a sentence from an article on http://www.bbc.com/:

The rocks also don't slide around very often - scientists estimate only a few minutes out of a million - which is why the event has not been noticed before.

I think the word "minute" refers here to the unit of angular measurement and not to the unit of time. However, I am still puzzled by the phrase "scientists estimate only a few minutes out of a million". What does it mean?

2 Answers 2

1

The phrase defines not ... very often more precisely:

Scientists estimate that the rocks slide around for only a few minutes during every million minutes.

3
  • That is, "minute" is a unit of time here?
    – Sinusx
    Sep 1, 2014 at 21:38
  • @Sinusx Exactly. Sep 1, 2014 at 21:40
  • 1
    One million minutes is almost two years. The clue that 'minutes' means time and not angle is 'very often', which is a 'time' kind of word.
    – Sydney
    Sep 1, 2014 at 22:43
1

It could be better worded, but minutes here is referring to the unit of time and not angles.

The rocks also don't slide around very often - scientists estimate they are moving for only a few minutes a year - which is why the event has not been noticed before.

Using a million seconds is strange, especially as it's almost 2 years (1.9), which people can visualise much more easily.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .