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Extremely confused by the wording of aa extremely easy problem

  1. Nov 11, 2008 #1
    This is pretty urgent, I am really confused by this kind of wording.

    Normally when people say A is a factor of 3 above B, do they mean A = B*3, or A = B*4?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2008 #2

    LowlyPion

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    Without seeing your particular context, I would normally take that to be approximately 3 times more than what it is compared to. As in 25 is about a factor of 3 times greater than 8.
     
  4. Nov 11, 2008 #3
    Well in this context, there can be no approximate answer. So my question is really whether A is 3 times as large B or 4 times as large as B. This is more of an English question than math question.
     
  5. Nov 11, 2008 #4

    LowlyPion

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    My best guess then would be that it was 3 times and not 4.

    It's comparable to saying something is an order of magnitude above. That is 70 is an order of magnitude greater than 7. It seems to me that someone would likely never mean that 77 was an order of magnitude above 7 and not 70.

    I think most people in common usage don't make the distinction.
     
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