Keeping Score

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

What does “score” mean in the following quote by Abraham Lincoln?

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and this is the first line from his famous Gettysburg Address speech in 1863. A score means a group or set of twenty, so in his speech Lincoln is talking about years, four score and seven years, which is a more sophisticated way of saying 87 years.

Example: A score of citizens attended the townhall meeting. (Note that the plural of score is also score.)

Don’t confuse this with scores (of), which means a large amount of something.

Example: Michelle sends scores of Christmas cards to family and friends every December.

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