Hello everyone,

First, there are two things A and B. B is smaller than A by two thirds in length, A is 3 c and B is 2 cm.

I know an expression to say this in 'B is two thirds of A". Then, do you say "B is smaller than A by two thirds" to describe the given relation?

When someone uses an expression saying 'A is bigger than B by two thirds", does this describe the given relation incorrectly and does it actually make A smaller than B? Would you say A is bigger than B by one and one thirds (1+1/3), though this appears quite complicating? If the former still describe the relation correctly then it would not be ideal to use as it might be confusing?

Thanks for your time and attention for those reading through my question in advance.

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Comments  (Page 2) 
Hello Temico,

First, thank you for your kind attention on this extending from my question. I think, your point is that my question is missing out perhaps 2/3 'times/folds'. Simply using 'by' could mean 'minus' or 'plus' e.g., Dow Jones industry average increased by 0.5 points meaning e.g., the previous time point it compares would be 100 points and now 100.5 points. Am I following right or closely to what you say or the worst completely different thing, or the worst of worst you don't say like this to talk of a simple difference - minus and plus? I showed two numbers at the beginning, so everybody must have thought what I was asking as about the 'times or folds', I think.

Hello Paco,

Thank you for your comment. I probably needed more checking on the internet to see how this kind expressions are used in what kind of context, but just checked to see only this sort of expression are used. I can't tell how the expression should be as I'm a native speaker - you knew obviously they use expression like you suggested - but what is clear here for non-native in your suggestion adds the minimun information giving an accuracy as Jim said before by e.g., giving equation and, I would say graphs and pictures etc.

I translate inhouse documents (believe me or not but definitely with a lot of 'yet-to-learn') and my original language can express one English/Spanish/Italian etc word in two characters or three so the original message can really tightly packed in PowerPoint file and there aren't enough space for European language as a consequence - so concise and brief expression was preferable for this time. I couldn't come up with 'by size of a thing'. Thanks for your advice I will remember this.

What about a phrase like A is bigger than B by 2/3 of B? Do they say or do you think it sound ok? If I remember right (now I can't go back and read what Jim wrote), it could be understood as A is one and two-thirds as much as B or something like this. It appears bit confusing, though.

And... can anyone validate more or give another insight on this? I'd appreciate.

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Hello souroin

How about using a phrase "by a factor of ~"?

I found in Oxford English Dictionary a quote using this phrase. "The retarded position [z] is less than the original z by a factor of 1/{1+(v/c)}" (Corrson and Lorrain "Electromagnetic Field", pp 493, 1967).

If you use a scientific expression like above, you could say "A is smaller than B by a factor of 2/3", when A=10 cm and B=15 cm, for example. However, there is a problem. Common people often say "A is smaller than B by a factor of 1.5" instead, because they tend to think a factor should be a value larger than unity". To avoid this confusion, you might rephrase it as "B is bigger than A by a factor of 1.5".

To sourin,

A) Supposing your income is $1000 and now IT is going to be increased BY 1/3, how much will your income be, may I ask?

B) Supposing Tom's income is $1000 and yours is 2/3 OF his, how much is your income?

When you say "A is bigger/smaller than B by 2/3", you are taking B's size as the model for comparison and not A's size unless you specifically say so. e.g.

This room(A) is bigger than the other room(B) BY half. Here, you are taking the size of room(B) as a model for comparison. i.e. if room B is 20 sq.ft, room A is 30 sq. ft.

As for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, they take 100 points as their model for comparision. How they calculate that "100 points", I don't have the faintest clue. Anyhow, I don't have any money to invest, so why bother.