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    #1

    the term "paid back"

    I have been reading an article on a subject I'm doing some research and I came across the term "paid back", used in the sentence "Carefully weighed 10 mg gallic acid, then dissolved indistilled water and paid back the volume up to 10 ml toobtain a level of 1 mg / ml as a stock solution." I can't understand what "paid back" means there, if someone would explain that to me. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Z Bianchi; 18-Apr-2015 at 00:33.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the term "paid back"

    It would not be considered natural in everyday English usage, but in international scientific usage I think it is acceptable. In that rare context "pay back" just means to add sufficient distilled water to bring the volume of the solution up to 10 ml.

    Having said that about the English, I am in some doubt about the math. Can you really dissolve 10 mg of gallic acid in less than 10 ml of water? Maybe, but it seems unlikely to me. And if you could and did, would the resulting solution be less than 10 ml in volume?
    Last edited by probus; 18-Apr-2015 at 04:18.

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    #3

    Re: the term "paid back"

    Yeah. You could dissolve up to 0,11g of gallic acid in 10mL of water. And thanks for answering.
    Last edited by Z Bianchi; 20-Apr-2015 at 02:49.

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    #4

    Re: the term "paid back"

    'Pay back' used in that context is new to me. I would use 'make up' or 'top up'
    It seems strange to me that the directions in a scientific experiment are written in the past tense.
    What article is that and who is the author?

    not a teacher
    Last edited by tedmc; 20-Apr-2015 at 02:59.

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    #5

    Re: the term "paid back"

    I've done a few searches for the term and there are some texts that use it, but I could only find a very few, and most were repeating the same texts. I would be a bit wary of the usage because there are so few examples.

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    #6

    Re: the term "paid back"

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    'Pay back' used in that context is new to me. I would use 'make up' or 'top up'
    It seems strange to me that the directions in a scientific experiment are written in the past tense.
    What article is that and who is the author?

    not a teacher
    Not A Teacher

    It is a well known convention that in writing the methods for scientific experiments that they are done in the past tense.
    For example in this guide from MIT.

    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/biologica...ab_report-htm/

    "The Materials and Methods section should be written in the past tense, since your experiments are completed at the time you are writing your paper."

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    #7

    Re: the term "paid back"

    "The Materials and Methods section should be written in the past tense, since your experiments are completed at the time you are writing your paper."

    "Carefully weighed 10 mg gallic acid, then dissolved indistilled water and paid back the volume up to 10 ml to obtain a level of 1 mg / ml as a stock solution."
    The above text posted by OP looks more like directions for an experiment like those you find in a cooking recipe, not a report on an experiment carried out by the writer. Don't you think so?

    not a teacher

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    #8

    Re: the term "paid back"

    If it were directions, it would be written in the present tense. "Carefully weigh 10mg gallic acid, then dissolve indistilled water and pay back ...". Directions are always written using the imperative.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: the term "paid back"

    I would use "replace" rather than "pay back".

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    #10

    Re: the term "paid back"

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    I would use "replace" rather than "pay back".
    As a scientist, have you come across pay back?

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