I learned language early. My Godmother/Aunt worked on the big 1976 Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Mom was a dedicated teacher of her children (and as eldest child I got the full attention). I could read before my fellow 1st-graders knew the alphabet, and I had a library card at 6. By 12, I had read all the "young adult" books in the local library and was allowed to read the "adult" stuff (with adult pre-approval). I even use semi-colons; who does THAT anymore? ;) I had a boss who actually removed a comma from one of the letters I wrote. I (and a co-worker) were so surprised we did research in the Government Style Manual about it (turned out he was right) and I don't think I have ever put a comma in front of a dependent clause since. So I should be a language snob, right? Nah... I am WAY more relaxed about it all these days.
I got over that fast in college and in my first job. I can read bad documents and even tweets without cringing. Everyone has different things that come easy.
But I have a peeve. I noticed it a few years ago. The first examples were rare and I considered them editing slips. But I heard President Obama make the same error in a speech recently, and I consider him to be a really careful writer/speaker.
It's "4 times less" (or 3 or 2 or any number). How can anything be "4 times less" than the whole? If a sector of the economy is 10 billion dollars, what is 4 times less than that? The whole of a number is "one times". Well, what is 1 times 10 billion dollars? It's 10 billion. So 1 times less than 10 billion (10 billion minus 10 billion) is zero.
So what is "4 times less" than 10 billion? -30 billion (10 billion minus 40 billion, or even -40 billion if you look it it in a certain way). Well, money can be negative numbers. But what is "4 times less" of a 10 pole? Have you ever seen a minus 30" pole?
I cringe every time I hear the phrase "X times less than". Yes, I know what they mean; "4 times less than" means 1/4. But it just raises all the hackles of my brain (metaphorically speaking) every time I hear that phraseology!