“The car is not starting”, he said, “I have a theory, the tank must be empty.”. That’s not a theory! That’s a hypothesis.
A hypothesis is the first part of a theory, it’s how a theory begins and it’s what we have when we think we have an explanation for something. When we go and confirm that explanation (check the tank is actually empty), proving the hypothesis, then, we have a theory.
I’m tired of hearing the word theory when they mean hypothesis. In Start Trek they do it all the time. Captain Picard asks La Forge why the friking thing is not working and after thinking for 1.5 seconds, La Forge says: “I have a theory, maybe the…”. There are no maybes on a theory! That’s a hypothesis. I think I’ve heard the word hypothesis used correctly in Star Trek TNG twice. Somehow, my wife started to use it correctly. I’m surprised. I suppose she got tired of me shouting “that’s a hypothesis!” every time La Forge opens his mouth.
I leave you with the official definition of hypothesis:
an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved:
Several hypotheses for global warming have been suggested.
And then we reach the conclusion that all that we talk about all the times are not theories or hypothesis, they are not formal; but somehow I’m OK with using those words informally. By the way, I’ve learned this on school. I can’t remember if it was in the last years of elementary school or on the first years of high school.
This is the first of a probably infinite series of post about my pet-peeves. Muhahaha.