Do you do it? Yes you do! It’s okay I do it too. Actually we all do it. Most of the time we do it subconsciously. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, it simply is the way we function. We have to. When you walk into a store and see a small child sitting on the floor you will extrapolate that a parent is close by. And if there isn’t, may I respectfully suggest you call security.
Hundreds of times a day we make decisions based on incoming data. If someone says hello to you in the hallway the assumption is that you will make a responding salutation. You extrapolate that information.
From the Merriam Webster Dictionary:
- transitive verb
- 1: to infer (values of a variable in an unobserved interval) from values within an already observed interval
- 2a: to project, extend, or expand (known data or experience) into an area not known or experienced so as to arrive at a usually conjectural knowledge of the unknown area <extrapolates present trends to construct an image of the future>b : to predict by projecting past experience or known data <extrapolate public sentiment on one issue from known public reaction on others>
Okay, let’s break this word down. Ex-trap-pol-ate. That was fun! Okay let’s see. We all have an Ex in the picture: ex-wife, ex-boyfriend, ex-partner. An integral part of the way in which we view the world is often related to how we viewed our relationship with the Ex. The fact that he or she is actually an Ex, does speak volumes. Next there is the trap. Funny things traps: we can be in the midst of one and not even know it. Which of course does explain the Ex. Polls. Don’t we all just love to take polls. I love having my opinion requested. I love giving my opinion. But to be insistently bombarded with others requesting my opinion can be tedious. Pity I ain’t, but verbose becomes boring.
Lastly we come to the ‘ate’. Now I may be an English major from university but I am not grammatically perfect. I don’t believe anyone is, certainly not a writer. Writers use imperfections to elicit the veracity in their words. People do not speak like automatons in real life so they shouldn’t on the pages of a book. But I digress. We are talking about extrapolating. People extrapolate everything. Our senses import the raw data and our minds extrapolate the correct response, which is then disseminated.
This may have taken me hundreds of words to say but we all do it in seconds without even thinking about it. Which of course may explain inappropriate actions. The process of extrapolation is not perfect, but then neither am I.