# Each item is mutated with a certain probability

< Previous | Next >

#### kimu9

##### New Member
Hi,

I came across a sentence saying "Each item is mutated with a certain probability" and wonder whether this means each item has the same probability that is certain, or each item has its own certain probability that may be different from others??

Thanks

• #### JulianStuart

##### Senior Member
Welcome, kimu9!
When you read the forum guidelines (the first sticky thread in the forum), you will see how much emphasis is placed on providing source and context for each question (so much so that they are required). Can you tell us where you "came across" the sentence and provide some context - perhaps describe the sentences (or sense) that come before this one. Without context, any answer would only be a rough guess.

#### kimu9

##### New Member

I found it in the article I read for my class. It's about the chance of items getting mutated by changing some of their parts. In this case there are several items. Each of them is said to be mutated with a certain probability. Up to this point I wonder, in English, "with a certain probability" must mean one same number/probability for every item, or just mean each item has it own number/probability which could be either the same or different from other items' probability numbers??
Or there is no right way to tell since it depends on the overall context of the article??

Thanks

#### JulianStuart

##### Senior Member
All you have given us is "Each item is mutated with a certain probability" and told us it's in "an article". This does not help much in terms of our understanding of the situation. Unless this is an obscure mathematical term, is it possible they are talking about DNA/genes/organisms, for example (a very common field where the term mutate is used).

I think you are right that the meaning of "certain" here is "specified or numerically known"If you told us what the items are, it might help. Without more (con)text, it is hard to distinguish between their all having the same (given/specific/certain) probability, or whether they each have their own individual (specific/given/certain) probability. The rest of the text where you found this sentence may well provide information that makes it clear to the reader - that would be useful "context" (accompanying text, literally!) to look for. On its own, the sentence remains ambiguous.

#### kimu9

##### New Member
All you have given us is "Each item is mutated with a certain probability" and told us it's in "an article". This does not help much in terms of our understanding of the situation. Unless this is an obscure mathematical term, is it possible they are talking about DNA/genes/organisms, for example (a very common field where the term mutate is used).

I think you are right that the meaning of "certain" here is "specified or numerically known"If you told us what the items are, it might help. Without more (con)text, it is hard to distinguish between their all having the same (given/specific/certain) probability, or whether they each have their own individual (specific/given/certain) probability. The rest of the text where you found this sentence may well provide information that makes it clear to the reader - that would be useful "context" (accompanying text, literally!) to look for. On its own, the sentence remains ambiguous.
Ahh...I see what you mean. What it says that is certain is a formula given in the article. It said that the probability can be calculated by p = ... + .... / ... x.... However, what I confused was that there is nothing in p related to items. Basically, there is only one p. So, I guess in this case that phase might mean every item has the same p then.

< Previous | Next >