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  1. #1
    rappiolla is offline Newbie
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    Default Accurate or precise?

    I'm trying to learn the difference between accurate and precise which, I assume, is subtle.

    The context is : 'For a precise (accurate?) measurement of the room temperature, this thermometer requires waiting 1 minute'.

  2. #2
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    Mehrgan is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Accurate or precise?

    Quote Originally Posted by rappiolla View Post
    I'm trying to learn the difference between accurate and precise which, I assume, is subtle.

    The context is : 'For a precise (accurate?) measurement of the room temperature, this thermometer requires waiting 1 minute'.


    ***not a teacher***
    I suppose "accurate" is used for something done/copied carefully, and just like what it was expected to be. And "precise" shows the exact amount, or the true detail of a number/temperature/time and so on.

    Hope Sb will add some explanation.

  3. #3
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question Re: Accurate or precise?

    I hope some dear posters correct me if I'm wrong. My interpretation is, in this case if we use "precise" for measurement, it'll refer to the result (which is a number) and how exact that number will be. And if "accurate" is used, it'll suggest that the action of measuring would be carefully done for a precise result.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Accurate or precise?

    They sometimes appear to be used as near-synonyms. The Concise Oxford Dictionary unhelpfully informs us:

    accurate [...] 1. careful, precise
    precise [...] 1a. accurately expressed

    To me, 'accurate' carries an idea of 'correctness' that 'precise' does not, but this may be just a personal view.

  5. #5
    rappiolla is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Accurate or precise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    I hope some dear posters correct me if I'm wrong. My interpretation is, in this case if we use "precise" for measurement, it'll refer to the result (which is a number) and how exact that number will be. And if "accurate" is used, it'll suggest that the action of measuring would be carefully done for a precise result.

    Thanks.
    This bears out what I thought: accurate has a meaning close to careful.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Accurate or precise?

    Quote Originally Posted by rappiolla View Post
    This bears out what I thought: accurate has a meaning close to careful.
    If I guess the age of someone as being "27 yrs, 4 mths and 3 days", that's a very precise guess. But if she's actually 25, "about 25" would be a more accurate, though less precise guess.

    A micrometer can give a much more precise measurement than a ruler can. But if the micrometer is badly calibrated, the precise measurement might not be as accurate as ruler's measurement.

    This explains it further:
    Accuracy and precision - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by Raymott; 16-Dec-2010 at 11:21.

  7. #7
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Accurate or precise?

    Accuracy is how close you are to hitting the mark. Precision is how repeatable you are.

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