Geek Smithology

January 21, 2009

English Lessons (…2 in a series) – A Mute Point?

Filed under: Pedantry by Nathan @ 11:06 pm

As a software developer, you occasionally hear a conversation like the following:

“You know, this resume looks good, but she doesn’t have a degree”
“Yeah…but seven years of experience”
“True, I suppose it’s a mute point”

Well, not really. First off, mute as an adjective means “characterized by the absence of sound; quiet.” So while you could say that with so much experience, the point that someone should have a degree becomes silent, or no longer necessary.

However, there is an even better word. The word that is supposed to be used, which is “moot”. The definition of “moot” as an adjective is “subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty, and typically not admitting of a final decision”.

So replace mute with moot in the conversation above and you’ll see that someone is saying that while education always matters, when a person has a lot of experience, the relative merit of education in the interviewing decision is lessened.

But not silent.

2 responses to “English Lessons (…2 in a series) – A Mute Point?”

  1. haakon says:

    In your second to last paragraph you may want to replace “mute” with moot” – if you are going to write a pedantic post, you might want to be pedantic about editing it… 🙂

  2. Nathan says:

    Indeed. This pedant needs a proofreader.

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