OK, I promised blogging every day in September that I am in London (primarily on the grounds that I'm off morris dancing this weekend and am going to be far too busy doing what we do on those weekends to get near a PC). Whether this will prove to be a good long-term strategy is hard to say. But pressing on regardless for now:

That word, “sorry”. I suspect I've mentioned before that it gets fairly heavily overworked here in the UK. Given that it's one of my pushable buttons, I began to suspect that I was looking out for it more than I possibly should be. So in the spirit of scientific enquiry, I decided to conduct a little study in order to harvest some empirical results.

On the car trip back from Edinburgh, I set to with a pad and took a tally of how many times the word was uttered, as well as what time it was said. There were 5 of us in the car, however I'll exclude myself from the sample population given that I knew the score was being kept.

The results were that in a car containing 3 English people and 1 Australian person, between the hours of 15:00 and 22:45, the word “sorry” was said 32 times. On average, this is about 4.13 times per hour, or just over once each, per person, per hour.

The actual distribution was more intense at the beginning and end of the sample period, which I believe coincides with heavier traffic around Edinburgh and London, which I can reasonably hypothesise meant that the driver and/or navigator would have been the one saying it. However my personal feeling is that it's still a lot, given that we were in a fixed configuration & all facing the same way. I would expect the use of “sorry” would occur more in a free-moving environment where there was potential for physical collision or obstruction – another circumstance in which “sorry” is heavily used.

Whaddya reckon – is that a lot, or am I making the whole thing up?