absolute difference vs. absolute value

primroseheel

Senior Member
korean-korea
The ( abosulte difference / absolute value ) between the rate of private-sector employees and that of state-and-local public employees was the smallest in college education levels.

Which one is correct?

The original sentence from my English textbook was ..
"The difference between the rate of private-sector employees and that of state-and-local public employees was the smallest in college education levels.

But I want to use absoulte value because some of the differeces are plus and some are minus...
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "Absolute difference" means the same as "absolute value of the difference," so you can say that. Just "absolute value" by itself is an error - but it is an error in mathematics, not in language. The word "difference," or a synonym, is required for the meaning to be correct; it cannot be left out.

    However, the original is also correct. In informal usage, "difference" is the same as "absolute difference," because the direction (sign) of the difference is usually not stated - just as it is not stated here.
     

    primroseheel

    Senior Member
    korean-korea
    "Absolute difference" means the same as "absolute value of the difference," so you can say that. Just "absolute value" by itself is an error - but it is an error in mathematics, not in language. The word "difference," or a synonym, is required for the meaning to be correct; it cannot be left out.

    However, the original is also correct. In informal usage, "difference" is the same as "absolute difference," because the direction (sign) of the difference is usually not stated - just as it is not stated here.
    Wow. Thank you!!
     
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