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  1. #1
    JACEK1 is offline Senior Member
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    Default A hidden meaning of "the" .... "the" structure in the sentence as shown below

    Hello everybody!

    There is also evidence that the chance of having twins increases the later a mother gives birth.

    In my opinion, the above sentence could be paraphrased as follows:

    There is also evidence that the later a mother gives birth, the greater there is the chance of having twins.

    or

    There is also evidence that the older a mother who gives birth is, the greater there is the chance of having twins.

    In the sentences modified by me, there is a complete "the" ... "the" structure whereas the sentence in question "There is also evidence that the chance of having twins increases the later a mother gives birth" contains half of "the" ... "the" structure, namely, "the later a mother gives birth".

    What do you think?

    Thank you.

    I think my conclusion is supported by additional context:
    Experts think this happens because of a change in hormonal signals sent between pituitary gland and the ovary.
    In the UK, the odds of having any kind of twins at any age is one in 63 but these odds reduce to one in 46 once a woman is older than 35, and one in 18 if a woman conceives after the age of 45.

    BBC News - Double treble: What's the chance of having three sets of twins?

  2. #2
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: A hidden meaning of "the" .... "the" structure in the sentence as shown below

    In order for your paraphrases to sound natural, you need to omit "there is" after "the greater". Once that is done your paraphrases are as good as the originals, but not in any way better or clearer.

  3. #3
    JACEK1 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: A hidden meaning of "the" .... "the" structure in the sentence as shown below

    I didn't want them to be better or clearer. I was looking for something that does not exist, namely, half of "the" ... "the" structure.

  4. #4
    Jaskin is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: A hidden meaning of "the" .... "the" structure in the sentence as shown below

    hi,
    Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker;

    Experts think this happens because of a change in hormonal signals sent between pituitary gland and the ovary.
    In the UK, the odds of having any kind of twins at any age is one in 63 but these odds reduce to one in 46 once a woman is older than 35, and one in 18 if a woman conceives after the age of 45.
    I'm sorry I just couldn't resist to ask about the usage of odds reduce. Is it proper usage or just a mistake ?
    As far as I can understand 1/63 is smaller than 1/46
    or does the word odds refers only to the denominator ?

    Cheers

  5. #5
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: A hidden meaning of "the" .... "the" structure in the sentence as shown below

    You're right. The chances of having twins increase.

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: A hidden meaning of "the" .... "the" structure in the sentence as shown below

    I note that the article also says "Doctors said the chance was 500,000 to one". As we discussed recently, I'm sure the chances don't increase that much, to almost certainty. The writer says later (correctly, at least grammatically), "Therefore, the probability of having three sets of non-identical twins is not one in 500,000, but one in 112 x 28 x 28... which is about 88,000."
    So the chance of something happening is the inverse of the probability of it happening? The only conclusion I can reach is that the use of "a chance of 500,000 to one" to describe a probability of 1:500,000 is wrong. But we're stuck with it. In cases like this, the meaning appears obvious from the context. It's less so with terms such as "a chance of 3 to 1".
    Last edited by Raymott; 12-Jun-2013 at 01:09.

  7. #7
    Jaskin is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: A hidden meaning of "the" .... "the" structure in the sentence as shown below

    hi
    Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker;
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    ....
    So the chance of something happening is the inverse of the probability of it happening? The only conclusion I can reach is that the use of "a chance of 500,000 to one" to describe a probability of 1:500,000 is wrong. But we're stuck with it. In cases like this, the meaning appears obvious from the context. It's less so with terms such as "a chance of 3 to 1".
    I'm not sure if I follow.
    The probability is the easy one when expressed as a number it's a number between 0 and 1.
    When expressed as a fraction it is usually with the preposition in .
    The usage of words like odds and chance as far as I understand can go with preposition to and in.
    But sometimes I'm at lose if it comes to using them. Let's take the 50-50 chance it is probability of 1 in 2.

    Do you mean that term such as a chance/odds of 3 to 1 could/should be interpreted as probability of 3 in 4 ?
    what about chance/odds of 1 in 3 ?
    I think that the article as a whole challenges the estimates made by the doctor; but I'm not convinced if so successfully.
    cheers.
    Last edited by Jaskin; 12-Jun-2013 at 02:57.

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: A hidden meaning of "the" .... "the" structure in the sentence as shown below

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaskin View Post
    hi
    Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker;


    I'm not sure if I follow.
    I mean simply that a 500,000 to 1 chance of having twins means 500,000 chances of having twins to one chance of not having them.

    It is used here to mean one chance in 500,000 (a one in 500,000 chance). The context shows that the term is being used as its own opposite.
    But if you have a term like "a 3 to 1 chance of winning", given that the term is an autoantonym, the context is missing. Since there's no absurdity in either a 3:1 or a 1:3 chance (as there is in either 500,000:1 or 1:500,000 of having twins), you can't tell if you have one chance or three chances out of four of winning.

    Last edited by Raymott; 12-Jun-2013 at 04:08.

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