People love to say “100%” to mean “yes” or “totally.” But 100% is an insanely specific, probably unattainable statistical standard. Academic researchers spend entire careers in the quest of p<0.05, and you want to assert 100% as if absolute certainty were not itself the subject of great debate? Chill out, dawg. The surest I could ever be about anything is 98%. And I’d reserve that level of confidence for only the most tautological tautologies, like 2+2=4. Could I be misconceiving what addition is? Could I be actually insane unawares? Doubt it! But out of an abundance of caution, I give the chance I am, 2%.

I would love to be able to respond to someone who asks me if I’ll come to hang out later, “Yeah, man, 90%!” to express how certain I am about what I’m saying. But I’d get questioned. “Whatchoo mean 90%? Why are you such an indecisive bitch?”

I admit I know the answer to my question of why people use 100% when they mean “I’m pretty sure.” It’s because colloquial certainty is not statistical certainty. 100% is an informal English slang that roughly translates to 88% in Probability.