One of my writing-style pet peeves is the incorrect use of the word “infinitely”. As in “OMG, this math test was infinitely harder than the last one!” No, it wasn’t.
Of course, there are a few legitimate uses of the word, and props to people who use it correctly. But for the most part, people use it to mean “a lot”. Even Malcolm Gladwell, in his latest New Yorker article about football players:
At one point, while he was discussing his research, Guskiewicz showed a videotape from a 1997 college football game between Arizona and Oregon. In one sequence, a player from Oregon viciously tackles an Arizona player, bringing his head up onto the opposing player’s chin and sending his helmet flying with the force of the blow. To look at it, you’d think that the Arizona player would be knocked unconscious. Instead, he bounces back up. “This guy does not sustain a concussion,” Guskiewicz said. “He has a lip laceration. Lower lip, that’s it. Now, same game, twenty minutes later.” He showed a clip of an Arizona defensive back making a dramatic tackle. He jumps up, and, as he does so, a teammate of his chest-bumps him in celebration. The defensive back falls and hits his head on the ground. “That’s a Grade 2 concussion,” Guskiewicz said. “It’s the fall to the ground, combined with the bounce off the turf.”
The force of the first hit was infinitely greater than the second.
So either the second hit didn’t happen, or else the first hit was executed with infinite force, which I guess is pretty impressive at the college level. NFL scouts, you watching?