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Figure into

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 30, 2008 at 13:45

In Reply to: Figure into posted by Shawn. Y. H. Kim on July 30, 2008 at 08:37:

: I have heard Nancy Pelosi saying "I think the economic security of the America's families, Jobs, health care, the education of their children, and of course energy figures into that." at an interview with Meridith Viera on NBC's Today Show.

: My question is : what does "figure into" mean?

Sometimes what we say in interviews does not come out in perfect grammatical shape. I think she mean: "As regards the economic security of America's families, I think you have to figure into that jobs . . . and of course energy." If that's what she meant to say, then "figure into" means "take or assume as a proportion of that." The verb Figure has many uses based on the meaning of the noun, sometimes based on shape (she has a good figure, the skater did a perfect figure eight), sometimes on numbers or calculations. (He figured up his debt.) To figure something out sometimes requires the use of numbers, sometimes, perhaps by extension, merely solving the puzzle. Ms. Pelosi's use of the verb "figure" implies a numerical proportion. A common expression follows a model like, "When the cost of labor is figured in, the project takes on a gagantuan proportion." Ms. Peolosi has figured in jobs, health care . . . and of course energy.