Grammar HINT HINT: A One-Eighty

grammar hint hint

Today’s post is about MATH! Hooray!

I am sure you have heard someone say it…”We were cruising along fine in our relationship…then, all of the sudden, she took a complete 360.” Sounds right, doesn’t it?

It shouldn’t. ‘Cause it ain’t. Unless you mean nothing changed.

The phrase comes from the fact that a circle is made up of 360 degrees. (You can read this article from Ask Dr. Math for a lot more detail as to why it is 360 in the first place.) I am sure you have heard the saying about things going around full circle, right? That’s what happens when everything comes back to where it started. That seems pretty clear, right? Going all the way around a circle is 360 degrees. Back to zero. Same place where you began. No change.

But what if you’re going in one direction, and you change and start traveling the complete opposite way? Picture a clock that has 360 evenly spaced dots around it. 0 is at the twelve o’clock position, 90 is at the 3:00 o’clock position, 180 is at the six o’clock position and 270 is at the nine o’clock position. (When the clock hands reach the twelve o’clock position again, that’s 360 degrees.) 180 is opposite 360, right? So when you completely change direction and go the opposite way, that is called a one-eighty. Again, because a three-sixty means there is no change.

So now you will understand why no one feels sorry for you when you tell them you’re life was going great and then it took a three-sixty. You’ll only elicit the head wags of pity if you remember to say one-eighty.

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