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    #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.

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: make a mistake by a percent or two

    The sentence (in bold) is fine.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: make a mistake by a percent or two

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

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: make a mistake by a percent or two

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    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.

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    #5

    Re: make a mistake by a percent or two

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

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: make a mistake by a percent or two


  5. Grumpy's Avatar
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    #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.
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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