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    #1

    the mean is?

    Dear Teachers,

    I read this from The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski:

    "I've had eight boyfriends so far in my life, with the average length of relationship being 9.8 months. The mean is 14.4 months."

    What does "the mean" refers to?

  1. Offroad's Avatar
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    #2

    Smile Re: the mean is?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eway View Post
    Dear Teachers,

    I read this from The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski:

    "I've had eight boyfriends so far in my life, with the average length of relationship being 9.8 months. The mean is 14.4 months."

    What does "the mean" refers to?
    In THIS context, Mean refers to a quantity having a value intermediate between the values of other quantities; an average, esp. the arithmetic mean.

    Example: you have 4 numbers, 20, 10, 30 and 40, then the mean will be (20+10+30+40)/4 = 25


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    #3

    Re: the mean is?

    Hello,
    Note I'm not a teacher,
    Sorry marciobarbalho but I don't agree with you.

    quantity having a value intermediate between the values of other quantities
    That is the median not the mean; and a median isn't (always) equals a mean.
    An average is interchangeable with a mean. The context doesn't change that;

    So here it must be used for different meaning becouse average(mean) is 9.8 and the mean(average) is 14.4.
    That doesn't really make sense ...

    I think it's word game; as mean means as well very good or not generous.

    Cheers,

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    #4

    Re: the mean is?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eway View Post
    Dear Teachers,

    I read this from The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski:

    "I've had eight boyfriends so far in my life, with the average length of relationship being 9.8 months. The mean is 14.4 months."

    What does "the mean" refers to?
    See this recent thread about mean and median:
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...17-median.html


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    #5

    Re: the mean is?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eway View Post
    Dear Teachers,

    I read this from The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski:

    "I've had eight boyfriends so far in my life, with the average length of relationship being 9.8 months. The mean is 14.4 months."

    What does "the mean" refers to?
    the mean number is the product of a collection of numbers added together and then divided by the amount of numbers.

    For instance

    3 + 7 + 2 + 9 = 21

    21/4 = 5

    So the author has taken the 8 different amounts of time (of each relationship) added them together, and divided them by 8 (the amount of relationships).

    I am not a teacher.


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    #6

    Re: the mean is?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaskin View Post
    An average is interchangeable with a mean. The context doesn't change that;

    So here it must be used for different meaning becouse average(mean) is 9.8 and the mean(average) is 14.4.
    That doesn't really make sense ...

    I think it's word game; as mean means as well very good or not generous.
    Good point, but I cannot think of any other (non-mathmatical) meaning.

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    #7

    Re: the mean is?

    Hello,
    Note I'm not a teacher,

    It seems that "the average length of relationship" refers to the median and "the mean" to the mean.

    That make sense .. but at first sight it wasn't so obvious.
    But how can one know which an average value the author meant by average length of

    Is it common to refer to a middle value or a median as an averege value ??
    or it is a mistake ?

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Jaskin; 23-Sep-2008 at 14:12.

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    #8

    Re: the mean is?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaskin View Post
    Hello,
    Note I'm not a teacher,

    It seems that "the average length of relationship" refers to the median and "the mean" to the mean.
    Yes, of course, that is the only solution.

    That make sense .. but at first sight it wasn't so obvious.
    But how can one know which an average value the author meant by average length of
    You don't unless they tell you. That's one of the points I made in the thread I gave the address for, above. "Average" usually means "mean"

    Is it common to refer to a middle value or a median as an averege value ??
    or it is a mistake ?
    Well, it's hard to say, because if they just say average (which a lot newspaper articles, etc. do, then how do you know how common it is?
    "Average" is ambiguous. It's best to use "mean" or "median" is you want to be understood.

    Cheers,
    R.

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