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    #1

    times fewer/more

    Hello,

    I asked a similar question some time ago, and it seemed to me I got a handle on the matter. Now I think I'm still having problems with these structures. Could somebody please have a look at the sentences and tell me if they are fine?

    1. Tom's 20. Ben's 3 times older than Tom --> Ben's 30.
    2. Tom made 12 mistakes a day last year. This year he's made 3 times fewer mistakes --> (12 - 12/3) = 8 mistakes.
    3. Ben made 12 mistakes a day last year too. This year he's made 3 times as few mistakes as last year --> (12/3) = 4 mistakes.
    4. Tom ate 4 hamburgers yesterday. Today he ate twice (two times?) more hamburgers -- > (4 + 4x2) = 12 hamburgers.


    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: times fewer/more

    *** Not a teacher ***

    I think there is a lot of room for error and misunderstandings in these usages.

    I think most people think "three times more" and "three times as many" are synonymous. Personally, I always use "three times as many" in an attempt to avoid confusion.

    Tom's 20. Ben's 3 times older than Tom --> The vast majority of English speakers will say Ben's 60.

    Tom's 20. Ben's 3 times as old as Tom ---> Ben is 60 - no room for confusion.



    I think you are asking for trouble when you say "three times fewer". I would say it means:

    Tom made 12 mistakes a day last year. This year he's made 3 times fewer mistakes --> (12/3) = 4 mistakes. But I can see how you could interpret it to get your equation (12 - 12/3) = 8 mistakes

    It is much more clear to say "one third as many":

    Tom made 12 mistakes a day last year. This year he's made one third as many --> (12/3) = 4 mistakes.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: times fewer/more

    To continue:
    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    . Tom ate 4 hamburgers yesterday. Today he ate twice (two times?) more hamburgers -- > (4 + 4x2) = 12 hamburgers.
    Today he ate twice as many. 4x2=8. He had 8 today.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: times fewer/more

    I hate to sound like some parents... but, when will they ever need to use this knowledge?

  3. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: times fewer/more

    All I can tell you that I at least never had to use this knowledge in as long as I can remember (which is a very long time) and I don't foresee needing to use it in the future.

    Just tell them all to study humanities.

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    #6

    Re: times fewer/more

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    All I can tell you that I at least never had to use this knowledge in as long as I can remember (which is a very long time) and I don't foresee needing to use it in the future.
    It makes this knowledge even more desirable
    Ok.

  4. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: times fewer/more

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    It makes this knowledge even more desirable
    Ok.

    Ok.

    It was a joke.

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    #8

    Re: times fewer/more

    I have been arrested 10 times. My brother has been arrested 2 times fewer than me. How many times has my brother been arrested?

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    #9

    Talking Re: times fewer/more

    Quote Originally Posted by mollovi View Post
    I have been arrested 10 times. My brother has been arrested 2 times fewer than me. How many times has my brother been arrested?
    First off, we usually don't deal with notorious criminals here. Secondly, IMHO, in order for your brother NOT to have criminal records (no other crimes - or lack of them - involved), he has to be arrested 10 times. (10-2x10 = -10 & -10 + 10 = 0 )


    PS:

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    It was a joke.
    So was this one.

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    #10

    Re: times fewer/more

    Quote Originally Posted by mollovi View Post
    I have been arrested 10 times. My brother has been arrested 2 times fewer than me. How many times has my brother been arrested?
    I read somewhere that the structure sounds unusual with 'fewer'. Every time I have a sudden urge to say something like that, I begin to have doubts. So I play it safe and kick the urge.

    P.S. If I were in the US now, I'd definitely interview a few natives . I guess I'd be given funny stares along with some nice comments on what they think of me and my maths problems, but who cares?

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