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  1. #1
    alla is offline Junior Member
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    Default "million million" or "trillion" ?

    I found this expression in a recently published article ( dailymail.co.uk):

    The hope comes from Edinburgh and Bristol university researchers who have, for the first time, made thousands of millions of red blood cells from stem cells – ‘master cells’ seen as a repair kit for the body – taken from bone marrow. But with the average blood transfusion containing 2.5million million red blood cells, this is not enough.

    Artificial blood made from stem cells could be used in transfusions in just two years | Mail Online

    Is it correct? Why not say : "trillion" ?
    BTW, the second million is not superfluous because the quantity would not be true.


  2. #2
    Larkus is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: "million million" or "trillion" ?

    I'm not a teacher.


    I guess, the author wanted to emphasize how awesomely many bloodcells there were in one blood transfusion. Human beings are bad at envisioning large numbers, so a million million might seems more like a trillion or 10^12.

    I looked for another example in the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA):

    "negative energy particles flow into the black hole. The result of this in/out flux is a steady decrease in the black hole's mass. # This flow of Hawking radiation from a black hole has consequences for the object's future, too, as the rate of emission of Hawking radiation is inversely proportional to the black hole's mass: the smaller the black hole, the more quickly it radiates away mass. As an example of this black hole evaporation, it would take a ten solar-mass black hole about 10sup66 years, or a million million million million million million million million million million million years to evaporate. For comparison, the Universe is less than a million million years old. But miniature black holes, which may be produced in the European particle accelerator, can evaporate in much less than a second!"

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: "million million" or "trillion" ?

    There is also the point that the writers may have wished to be absolutely clear.
    One billion in BrE and Am is one thousand million, or one milliard, in many other languages. It has nine noughts.
    One trillion in BrE and AmE is one billion in many other languages. It has twelve noughts.

  4. #4
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "million million" or "trillion" ?

    This is another of those AmE/BrE differences.

    To an American, a "billion" is 1000 million. 10^9
    A "trillion" is a thousand billion. 10^12

    To Brits, 1000 million is a thousand million.
    A "billion" is a million million. 10^12
    A trillion is a million billion 10^18

    Trillion | Define Trillion at Dictionary.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "million million" or "trillion" ?

    That is no longer true, Soothing Dave. The British have used the same system as the Americans for several years now,

  6. #6
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "million million" or "trillion" ?

    OK, thanks. I guess that's one for us. You're still driving on the wrong side of the road though.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: "million million" or "trillion" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    OK, thanks. I guess that's one for us. You're still driving on the wrong side of the road though.
    The left side is the right side. The right side is the wrong side. I hope that is clear.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: "million million" or "trillion" ?

    I only discovered a couple of months ago that a billion is no longer a million million in the UK.

    I have, over the years, spent a lot of time explaining to many people that in BrE it's a million million and in AmE it's a thousand million. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered I had been wasting my time!

  9. #9
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "million million" or "trillion" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    There is also the point that the writers may have wished to be absolutely clear.
    One billion in BrE and Am is one thousand million, or one milliard, in many other languages. It has nine noughts.
    One trillion in BrE and AmE is one billion in many other languages. It has twelve noughts.
    Although the short scale, now used in America and Great Britain, is gaining popularity around the world (because it's used in America and Great Britain ), the long scale has a bit simpler logic behind it.

    A billion in the long scale is the bi-million, that is 1 000 000 to the power 2 (which "bi" stands for). The short scale is based on the powers of 1 000 instead but in a more complicated way. Here, a billion is 1 000 to the power 2+1, that is 3. A trillion is 1 000 to the power 3+1, that is 4, and so on. Clearly, less clear.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: "million million" or "trillion" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I only discovered a couple of months ago that a billion is no longer a million million in the UK.

    I have, over the years, spent a lot of time explaining to many people that in BrE it's a million million and in AmE it's a thousand million. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered I had been wasting my time!
    Me too.

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