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    #1

    Mean or Average

    Does "mean" or "average" mean the same in the following sentence?
    Statistically, the mean/average age of ABC's civil servants was 40.81 years.

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    #2

    Re: Mean or Average

    Quote Originally Posted by albertino View Post
    Does "mean" or "average" mean the same in the following sentence?
    Statistically, the mean/average age of ABC's civil servants was 40.81 years.
    From statistical point of view mean and average may, though don't have to, mean the same. Statisticians far more often use mean, so I would go for it in your sentence. But CALD, for example, gives that mean and average mean the same. Many would disagree.

    However, I'd be happy to learn the views of native English speakers who use the two terms in everyday non-academic life.

    Best,
    Nyggus

    Disclaimer: Not a native English speaker or a teacher of English

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    #3

    Re: Mean or Average

    Quote Originally Posted by Niall Beag View Post
    To a lay person, "average" means what a statistician means when he says "mean".

    To a statistician, "mean" is one of a set of types of "average".

    The reason the sentence says mean/average is so that you or I can read it and take the correct meaning from the word average, and trained statisticians can read it and take the correct meaning from the word mean.
    Thanks, Niall. This is exactly what I thought and meant. For example, median and mode are another types of average.

    Nyggus

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    #4

    Re: Mean or Average

    Quote Originally Posted by albertino View Post
    Does "mean" or "average" mean the same in the following sentence?
    Statistically, the mean/average age of ABC's civil servants was 40.81 years.
    I`d rather say :
    Statistically, the medium / average age of ABC's civil servants was 40.81 years.

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    #5

    Re: Mean or Average

    Quote Originally Posted by teia_petrescu View Post
    I`d rather say :
    Statistically, the medium / average age of ABC's civil servants was 40.81 years.
    Sorry, but I can't agree with you. If you say about a particular number, 40.81 in this case, you have some particular quantity on your mind: here it likely is the arithmetic mean. And you say "statistically", so you should more or less use the appropriate language. Mean, then, is appropriate. Average also can be. But writing "medium/average" seems strange to me, and I haven't come across something like that even though I have read plenty of text with sentences like that in question. So, I would leave "mean" here.

    Cheers,
    Nyggus

    [Not a NES, not a teacher]


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    #6

    Re: Mean or Average

    When I was in school, I was taught to use the word "average" to describe what my children were taught is the "mean." I am pleased that we are moving towards mathematical accuracy, but wish mean, median, and mode (the three terms they were tested on) were not such similar words.

    Niall, "medium" in the sense that Teia used it still exists in modern speech. A "medium-sized" onion or house is understood to be neither the smallest or largest available, and many people wear a "medium." I agree though that since everybody is now learning "median" in math class, those who recall the term may be confused by "medium" used instead of "average."

    [not a teacher]

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    #7

    Re: Mean or Average

    Quote Originally Posted by Niall Beag View Post
    I'm afraid you would not be understood if you said this.

    "The medium" is not a statistical term in English. A reader may confuse "medium" with "median", which is very different from "mean", so the meaning of the sentence would be lost.
    Well, I should have asked if I could use the word "medium" in this sentence. I think that my mistake is that I simply used the Romanian equivalent "mediu" for the English "average". Sorry ! I didn`t mean to confuse you all.

    Thank you for your answers.

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    #8

    Re: Mean or Average

    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    When I was in school, I was taught to use the word "average" to describe what my children were taught is the "mean." I am pleased that we are moving towards mathematical accuracy, but wish mean, median, and mode (the three terms they were tested on) were not such similar words.

    Niall, "medium" in the sense that Teia used it still exists in modern speech. A "medium-sized" onion or house is understood to be neither the smallest or largest available, and many people wear a "medium." I agree though that since everybody is now learning "median" in math class, those who recall the term may be confused by "medium" used instead of "average."

    [not a teacher]
    Hi Delmobile

    You are right . I was confused because we have this word , "medium" ,in Romanian [we write it "mediu"- it`s of Latin origin as Romanian language is] , and it means "average".

    Thank you.


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    #9

    Re: Mean or Average

    I forgot "the happy medium." :)

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