3/8 = three over eight? [saying fractions]

sequoia25

Senior Member
français
Hello,

We can say three out of eight or three eights for 3/8. But, can we also say three over eight?
TIA
 
  • csands14

    Member
    English- US
    If you're talking in terms of an actual math problem, then yes three over eight would be the most natural. However, if you're talking about a group of people, three over eight does not make sense; you would have to say "three out of eight want to go to the movies" for example.
     

    CarlosK

    Member
    English - United States
    Perhaps to further clarify for you, in general, if we say a fraction in common speech, it's three eighths (or three quarters, or a third, etc.) E.g. "I didn't eat half the pizza pie! It was more like three eighths!" In math class, it depends -- "three eighths" is often quicker, but "three over eight" is often clearer -- both can feel more "natural" depending on the exact context. But to answer your question directly, we do say it -- three over eight.
     
    Last edited:

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    You are more likely to use this form is the fraction is a more complex one. If I was given 102/103, I don't think I'd ever say 'one hundred and two one hundred and thirds'; it would always be 'one hundred and two over one hundred and three', in and out of maths class! If I was given a more basic fraction like 3/4, I'd probably only say 'three quarters'. Your fraction 3/8 has gone just beyond the basic stage.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    You are more likely to use this form is the fraction is a more complex one. If I was given 102/103, I don't think I'd ever say 'one hundred and two one hundred and thirds'; it would always be 'one hundred and two over one hundred and three', in and out of maths class! If I was given a more basic fraction like 3/4, I'd probably only say 'three quarters'. Your fraction 3/8 has gone just beyond the basic stage.
    For those of us in the U.S., three-eighths is fairly common. We have wrenches, bolts and nuts with that designation since we still use inches for those things. 102/103rds is another deal entirely. :)
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Yes, any eighth or sixteenth up to 7/8ths or 15/16ths would be easily understood and any combination that included them, such as 3 5/8, which would be said as "three and five-eighths".
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Having been brought up by an engineer in the imperial system, I'm happy with all powers of two up to sixty-fourths being expressed as a full fraction, thus 3/8 is three eighths and I would look askance and "three over eight" which has an 'amateur' sound to it.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    sequioa knows about the other ways of expressing a fraction, but has asked specifically about the phrasing, "three over eight", which is possible, in my experience.

    Why do you want to use the "three over eight" form, sequoia? I assume you have a reason for asking this question. It would be interesting to know, and it might enable people to be more helpful. :)
     
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