expect John has 5 sweets. Is there any type of difference between the following two sentences?

Jack has actually 3 time as plenty of sweets as John.

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Jack has 3 times more sweets than John.

I prefer the very first construction and also would understand unambiguously the Jack has 15 sweets in this case. Yet in the second construction I would certainly be inclined to think the Jack has 20 sweets, due to the fact that it seems to suggest 15 sweets in enhancement to the original 5.


This is without doubt a classic. The question has been asked plenty of times about the web, and also there show up to be two schools: one that agrees through you, and one the thinks both constructions space acceptable and also interprets both as 15 sweets. Ns think those human being are nuts, but, hey, they can be the majority. I say, why use a building that is either illogical or ambiguous once you have actually a perfectly good alternative? yet language isn"t logical, specifically not idiom, therefore I suppose I cannot call my argument objective. I think "3 time more" as 15 sweets complete is agree to most people, despite I"d never use it. Friend will also see that in newspapers. The exact same difficulty exists in Dutch, v the very same sides to pick between.

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edited might 27 "20 at 1:37
answered january 3 "11 at 22:45

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A recent short article from the OpenSecrets.org website bears the title “Dark Money Spending 3 Times more Than at very same Time in 2012 Cycle, CRP Testifies” (April 30, 2014). A graph in the yes, really CRP paper (“Exhibit 2,” on page 9 of the submitted testimony) identifies the relevant numbers as being slightly much more than $4 million in 2012 (“to date”) and also slightly much more than $12 million in 2014 (“to date”). Plainly the headline writer considers “three times more than” come be synonymous with “three time as much as.” The key text the the testimony (on web page 3) evinces a comparable understanding in describing the difference in between the 2 figures:

As the April 29 in the present cycle, regardless of this gift a midterm election, spending by nondisclosing teams is virtually three times greater than it was at the same suggest in 2012, totaling $12.3 million contrasted to $4.4 million in the same point in 2012.

It appears to me that plenty of writers and speakers the dearteassociazione.org are inclined to usage "X times more than" and also "X time as much as" interchangeably and also to analyze them together being equivalent. Yet in a paper titled “Common Errors in developing Arithmetic Comparisons,” Professor Milo Schield of Augsburg university in Minneapolis, Minnesota, treats this understanding as a usual error:

Confusing ‘times as much’ through ‘times much more than’. If B is three times as lot as A, climate B is 2 times more than A — not three times more than A. The essential feature is the difference is in between ‘as lot as’ and ‘more than’. ‘As lot as’ shows a ratio; ‘more than’ shows a difference. ‘More than’ way ‘added to the base’. This essential difference is ignored by those who say the ‘times’ is leading so that ‘three times together much’ is yes, really the exact same as ‘three times much more than’.

Of course, the fact that “more than” indicates a difference doesn’t transform the reality that “times much more than” indicates a ratio of a certain kind. The real inquiry is whether human being understand the proportion implied by “times more than” to to compare the whole amount of the larger quantity to the smaller quantity or even if it is they understand it come compare just the difference in between the larger and smaller amounts to the smaller sized quantity.

Historically, at least one fairly early message supports Professor Schield’s distinction. From a 1657 translate in of Voltaire’s The General history and State the Europe, component V:

The farmer of those alienated duties plundered the human being of four times much more than their demand amounted come ; and also when at length the general depredation obliged Henry IV, to provide the intire management of the finances come the battle each other de Sully, this able and also upright minister uncovered that in the year 1596, lock raised about a hundred and also fifty numerous livres top top the people, to bring around thirty into the Exchequer.

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In this example, Voltaire observes that 150 million is four times an ext than 30 million, despite it is also plainly five times as much as 30 million.

In mine view, if considerable numbers that dearteassociazione.org speakers and readers have actually conflicting understandings of the two terms—some acquisition the position that “X time as lot as” and “X times an ext than” to express to identical ratios, and others adopting Professor Schield"s see that the 2 ratios affiliated differ fundamentally—a writer that doesn’t want to be misunderstood by some significant portion the readers could do well to avoid ever using the potentially ambiguous phrase “X times an ext than,” especially since any such proportion is simple to recast (and recalculate, if necessary) together an unambiguous “X time as lot as” ratio.