# Thread: make a mistake by a percent or two

1. ## make a mistake by a percent or two

Dear teachers,

could you please tell me whether this sentence is understandable and sounds natural?

If you make a mistake by a percent or two in finding direction by the sun, you will get lost.

Thank you very much.

2. ## Re: make a mistake by a percent or two

The sentence (in bold) is fine.

3. ## Re: make a mistake by a percent or two

Can 'finding direction' be replaced with 'navigating"?
Not a teacher.

4. ## Re: make a mistake by a percent or two

Originally Posted by Matthew Wai
Can 'finding direction' be replaced with 'navigating"?
I don't think so. (But what do I know?) I think navigating has to do with more than finding direction. It also involves plotting the course, for example.

5. ## Re: make a mistake by a percent or two

I say yes. Sailors know how to navigate by the stars.

7. ## Re: make a mistake by a percent or two

Since we are concerned with finding direction/navigating by means of the sun, it would be better to substitute "percent" with "degree". You can use the sun either to assess in which direction you are facing/travelling, normally measured in degrees relative to North, or you can use it to find out your latitude - which is also measured in degrees, this time relative to the equator.
Having said that, making a mistake of a degree or two (or a percent or two) in finding direction by the sun is very unlikely to get you lost. Practically, you will be very lucky - and very accurate - to get a bearing relative to North accurate to within 10 degrees from the sun.

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