How should I understand the phrase "x times more" and "x times less?

I'm not sure if they have two meanings each, one you take as an addition and the other as a multiplication.

If for example, I went into the office 4 times and someone "went in the office 5 times more than I did", does that mean that the times they went in there is: 4+5= 9 times? Or should I understand it as a multiplication of 4*5=20 times?

Is it the same understanding for "x times less"?

Eren8hisfatherIf for example, I went into the office 4 times and someone "went in the office 5 times more than I did", does that mean that the times they went in there is: 4+5= 9 times? Or should I understand it as a multiplication of 4*5=20 times?

You have stumbled upon "an unfortunate coincidence", namely, that you are working with two meanings of 'times'. Let's take a different example first — one with just the multiplication meaning of 'times'.

*Sally has $2. Tom has three times as many dollars as Sally.*

(2x3 = 6, so Tom has $6.)

*Sally has $2. Tom has*

__three more__dollars__than__Sally.(2+3=5, so Tom has $5.)

Now suppose you are counting 'times' (occasions) that something happened.

*Sally punched Tom two times. She punched Bill three times as many times as she punched Tom.*

(2x3=6, so Sally punched Bill six times.)

*Sally punched Tom two times. She punched Bill*

__three more__times__than__she punched Tom.(2+3=5, so Sally punched Bill five times.)

The situation you presented is ambiguous.

CJ

You're right. They are ambiguous. But for addition we can say "x more times", and we usually do.

No. For one thing, it's "x fewer times" for subtraction. Also, the multiplicative "times" implies augmentation, and we want diminution, so "x times less" is nonsense when you look at it.

English and arithmetic don't play well together. You have to word things carefully to get it right.

anonymous