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A Broken Clock Might Not be Right Twice a Day

Most people are already aware of this old adage that goes something like this.

"A broken clock is right twice a day."

This expression typically implies that even when something or someone is broken or incorrect for whatever reason, it may sometimes work or be correct some of the time.

I have two (nit-picky) problems with this expression.

First, digital clocks that are broken typically do not tell any time, thus they are not correct twice a day.

Second, analog clocks that completely stop working are correct twice a day. For instance, if a clock completely stops working at 12:30, then the clock is correct at 12:30AM and 12:30PM. In other words, the stopped clock is correct twice a day. However, if an analog clock is running slightly fast or slow, such as adding or subtracting a single minute per hour, then it is possible that an analog clock will never have the correct time in a single day.

As a result, I would like to suggest this replacement saying.

"A stopped analog clock is correct twice a day."

Or you can not be as picky as I am.

by Phil for Humanity
on 06/16/2009

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