'by' - multiplication

andrzejewskil

Member
Polish
Hi there,

An issue cropped up in a class of mine: the sentence

"It's risen by 4 times"

I believe is correct. If we say it:

"It's risen 4 times"

we change its meaning, don't we?

The first one, I understand, tells us about a quadruple rise in amount, whereas the second about 4 separate rises. Right?

To continue this subject; there is a sentence:

" My block of flats is 4 times bigger than the local church".

Can I say:

"My block of flats is bigger by 4 times"
(the interlocutor knows I am talking about the relationship between the block of flats and the church)?

Cheers,
 
  • andrzejewskil

    Member
    Polish
    "It's risen by 4 times"

    vs

    "It's risen 4 times"

    Is the second sentence really not ambiguous suggesting two meanings. First, risen fourfold, second, risen once, then second time, then again and in the end once more???
     

    Frajola

    Senior Member
    Braz Portuguese
    "It's risen by 4 times"

    vs

    "It's risen 4 times"

    Is the second sentence really not ambiguous suggesting two meanings. First, risen fourfold, second, risen once, then second time, then again and in the end once more???

    For the sake of clarity, one is expected to say 'by four times' if they mean 'fourfold'. The problem being the word that follows 'by' here, namely 'times'.


    I think that using 'by' is optional when what follows it is an amount like $ 20,000 or a percentage numeral.

    > Sales increased (by) 20%.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    "It's risen by 4 times"

    vs

    "It's risen 4 times"

    Is the second sentence really not ambiguous suggesting two meanings. First, risen fourfold, second, risen once, then second time, then again and in the end once more???
    I agree. To say that "It's risen four times" without previous explanatory context would tell me that it (the rent, eg.) has been raised on four different occasions. The amount of the increases would be unknown.

    In Canada at least, the phrase (by XXX times) would rarely be used. We would be more likely to use a percentage or, at the very least, would say "My rent has quadrupled in the past two years". I would, however, usually expect to hear "My rent has gone up 400%".
     

    Tower of Babel

    Senior Member
    USA
    USA (American English)
    Hello andrzejewskil,

    Here is my view as an American--

    "It's risen by 4 times"
    This wording sounds quite unnatural. In American English, a common way to express this concept is to say, "by a factor of":
    "Pollution has risen by a factor of 4."
    "Costs have risen by a factor of 4."

    "It's risen 4 times"
    This statement is okay, but the meaning is that the item rose on four separate occasions:
    "The price has risen 4 times: in March, June, September, and December."

    "My block of flats is bigger by 4 times"
    This sentence sounds extremely unnatural. It is much better to say:
    "My block of flats is 4 times bigger."
     
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