Using Math Operands as Verbs

My kids do this all the time. “You have to plus it”. “You times it by 3”. “You forgot to minus it”. Lately I overheard some adults discussing some arithmatic matter and they did it too.

Is this a new thing?

I wonder if the word “divide” is the villian here, in that the operand “divided by” uses the same word as the verb, which may have carried over to the others.

Sounds like some people should pay more attention in English class.

Divide is not the culprit. You can properly say, “You have to add it.” or “You forgot to subtract it.”

A lot of the high school students I deal with do this. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone older than maybe 17 do it though. I’ve been hearing high school kids say it for at least 15 years or so.

Gawd. I once heard an attorney in a court of law actually say, “You have to times it by seven.”

Since this is a nitpicky thread about English, I’ll point out that the title should be “Using Math Operators as Verbs”. Operands are what operators are applied to.

You’re right, my apologies.


I was hoping this was about integrating little Poly Nomial piecewise…but then again I am a dirty old man.

Obligatory Calvin and Hobbes reference

Understandable when you consider how many elementary school kids are taught to memorize the “times table”.

It is not a new thing. I’ve only heard people say to “times” something by a number, but there was at least one girl in my 4th grade class who used to say that. That would have been about 1967 or so.

I think it’s just a normal product of being in a school that is really pushing math. Those operators are used as verbs in math class, and if the curriculum is integrated, it could make sense to spread elsewhere.

I remember cringing as a kid hearing kids say “times it by” and such.