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  1. #1
    Miner49'er's Avatar
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    a major fraction

    On the "Online English Language Polls" page I entered:

    "A major fraction" is good English."

    To my surprise I saw that most of the voters considered it bad English.

    I wouldn't say that I hear that expression every day but I hear it often enough.

    Even a Google search returned massif results:
    Resultaten 1 - 10 van circa 3.790.000 voor a major fraction

    Can someone please explain why it is considered bad English?

  2. #2
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    Re: a major fraction

    Quote Originally Posted by Miner49'er View Post
    On the "Online English Language Polls" page I entered:

    "A major fraction" is good English."

    To my surprise I saw that most of the voters considered it bad English.

    I wouldn't say that I hear that expression every day but I hear it often enough.

    Even a Google search returned massif results:
    Resultaten 1 - 10 van circa 3.790.000 voor a major fraction

    Can someone please explain why it is considered bad English?
    I wouldn't say it poor English, but one would normally use "large" or "big" with a number. Most of the uses of "major fraction" in my Google serach referred to chemicals, proteins, blood cells, and other things that can be "fractionated". That said, I think it would be understood.

    When you do a Google search for a phrase, remember to put it in quotations marks. You ended up with all the pages that had either word on it anywhere on the page.

  3. #3
    Miner49'er's Avatar
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    Re: a major fraction

    Most of the uses of "major fraction" in my Google serach referred to chemicals, proteins, blood cells, and other things that can be "fractionated"
    Yes, I must admit that I heard it said mostly in that context.

    When you do a Google search for a phrase, remember to put it in quotations marks. You ended up with all the pages that had either word on it anywhere on the page.
    Hehe,....I know, but it gave me such good score

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: a major fraction

    There may also have been some respondent bias as the words were Mr Rumsfeld's, though I put it up because it sounded weird to me.

  5. #5
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    Re: a major fraction

    Quote Originally Posted by Miner49'er View Post
    Yes, I must admit that I heard it said mostly in that context.



    Hehe,....I know, but it gave me such good score


  6. #6
    Miner49'er's Avatar
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    Re: a major fraction

    Is it you who put all these tests, quisses and trivia online Tdol?
    Of great value for us but an enormous job for you, if you ask me.

    Also, when I see the amount of questions flowing in and how little time elapses before they get answered, I become dazzled.
    Great job you guys are doing here!

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: a major fraction

    Fortunately, we now have a lot of people answering in the forum and coming from different time zones, which means that there is normally someone in who can answer things.

  8. #8
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    Re: a major fraction

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Fortunately, we now have a lot of people answering in the forum and coming from different time zones, which means that there is normally someone in who can answer things.
    The sun never sets on UE teachers.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: a major fraction

    Even though most reply in the evening.

  10. #10
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    Re: a major fraction

    It's not bad English at all. May I suggest that those who think it is are simply unfamiliar with it use?

    Here is an example that I came across on Google:

    As used in Sections 180.63 and 180.64A of Title 19 of the Oklahoma Statutes, "a major fraction thereof" means any amount greater than one-half (1/2).

    It seems pretty clear to me that "major" should be understood in the context of "majority"; i.e. a "major fraction" means more than 50%.

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