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    #1

    Questions about heterogeneity/heterogenous

    Hi,

    My question is could heterogeneity be used to describe a system with two different components? Or the word only applies to a system with three or more components?

    I am a non-native speaker. A native speaker told me that the word "heterogeneity" only applies to a system with three or more components. Two different components are not sufficient and the system should be called "dichotomous" instead of "heterogeneous". However, I read an article of my field in high impact journal written by a native speaker, in which she use heterogenity to describe a system with two different components.

    Thank you for your reply.

    Best regards,

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Questions about heterogeneity/heterogenous

    Quote Originally Posted by vividalps View Post
    Hi,

    My question is could heterogeneity be used to describe a system with two different components? Or the word only applies to a system with three or more components?

    I am a non-native speaker. A native speaker told me that the word "heterogeneity" only applies to a system with three or more components. Two different components are not sufficient and the system should be called "dichotomous" instead of "heterogeneous". However, I read an article of my field in high impact journal written by a native speaker, in which she use heterogenity to describe a system with two different components.

    Thank you for your reply.

    Best regards,
    I can see nothing in the definition of "heterogeneous" that precludes its being used in connection with two different things. I can't say, however, that it's a word I ever have occasion to use.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Questions about heterogeneity/heterogenous

    Quote Originally Posted by vividalps View Post
    Hi,

    My question is could heterogeneity be used to describe a system with two different components? Or the word only applies to a system with three or more components?

    I am a non-native speaker. A native speaker told me that the word "heterogeneity" only applies to a system with three or more components. Two different components are not sufficient and the system should be called "dichotomous" instead of "heterogeneous". However, I read an article of my field in high impact journal written by a native speaker, in which she use heterogenity to describe a system with two different components.

    Thank you for your reply.

    Best regards,
    There is nothing inherent in the word heterogeneity or hetero- as a prefix that specifies more than two different elements. A person who is heterosexual is attracted to one other gender of human, not several. A heterogeneous solution in chemistry can be formed by mixing a hydrophilic substance with a hydrophobic one. In genetics, a homozygote has two identical genes for a certain trait; a heterozygote has two different genes for a certain trait. That said, I hasten to add that use of hetero- does not confine the possibilities to just two, if there are more than two possibilities.

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    #4

    Re: Questions about heterogeneity/heterogenous

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I can see nothing in the definition of "heterogeneous" that precludes its being used in connection with two different things. I can't say, however, that it's a word I ever have occasion to use.

    Thank you for your reply.

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    #5

    Re: Questions about heterogeneity/heterogenous

    Thank you a lot MikeNewYork. The examples you listed are great.

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    #6

    Re: Questions about heterogeneity/heterogenous

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    There is nothing inherent in the word heterogeneity or hetero- as a prefix that specifies more than two different elements. A person who is heterosexual is attracted to one other gender of human, not several. A heterogeneous solution in chemistry can be formed by mixing a hydrophilic substance with a hydrophobic one. In genetics, a homozygote has two identical genes for a certain trait; a heterozygote has two different genes for a certain trait. That said, I hasten to add that use of hetero- does not confine the possibilities to just two, if there are more than two possibilities.
    Thank you a lot MikeNewYork. The examples you listed are great.

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    #7

    Re: Questions about heterogeneity/heterogenous

    Vividalps, instead of sending your thanks in separate messages and quoting our replies back to us, just click the Like button, please.

    The reason is that it is flagged as a new post, so we think you might have a follow-up question or something to add. Those of us with slow internet connections and/or old computers have to waste valuable time waiting for it to appear.

    Thank you.

    Rover

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