On what basis is 'an average' calculated?Very often we come across this usage or similar ones. The student's performance in the examination was not up to expectations, it was below the average; on an average, these employees get a sum of rupees three hundred and fifty a day; this year's rainfall was far above the average; the average speed of the vehicles is limited to fifty km per hour; he is an average speaker and so on.
These types of comments are very familiar to all of us. Even without any explanation all of us accept the statements. But we do not try to analyze the word 'average'. What exact information we are getting from these statements? An average is actually a measuring point, by which we understand that many are below that level and many above. If the character under consideration is countable or measurable one, the average can be calculated. But if it is commenting on a performance or skin colors of individuals, in what way do we state that it is average? And again if it is referring to collections of numerical data, to which average the reference is made may be doubted.