Re: Grammar: "Multiply by" or "Multiply times"?

Subject: Re: Grammar: "Multiply by" or "Multiply times"?
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:09:31 -0700

On 4/25/2017 9:36 AM, Robert Lauriston wrote:

You can say "three times two is six" or "three multiplied by two is
six," but you shouldn't have "multiply" and "times" in the same

This is correct and wrong at the same time. "Three times two is (equals) six" is not ""three multiplied by two is
six." "Three times two equals six" is stated as two multiplied by three equals six." The order is important, while the mathematical result is the same. "Times" is a count of how many times an ingredient or process is used. "Multiplied by" what is used to increase the ingredient or process.

So for 3 x 2 = 6, if "times" is used, then 2 is the thing being increased and the phrase is "three times two." If "multiplied by" is used then the meaning is that you have three of something that you are increasing by two.

The phrase being addressed is, "multiply the absorbance of the dilution times 20." Accuracy of the order of things is important here. What it sounds like the scientist is saying is either, "multiply the absorbance of the dilution 20 times," or "multiply the absorbance of the dilution by 20." The meaning of the two interpretations can differ whether the formula represents a process or a factor. Context is necessary.

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