# one and a half times smaller than...

#### Solle

##### Senior Member
Dear forum colleagues,

Can I say "one and a half times smaller than..."? Or should I change it for "one time and a half"? Thanks a lot)

• #### PaulQ

##### Senior Member
"one and a half times smaller than..."
"one time and a half times smaller than..."

#### panjandrum

##### Occasional Moderator
Dear forum colleagues,
Can I say "one and a half times smaller than..."?
...
Yes, but what does it mean?
I really don't know.

#### PaulQ

##### Senior Member
The original sample is 6 inches long

One four times as small (smaller or 'as the original') would be 1½ inches
One three times as small (smaller) would be 2 inches
One two times (twice) as small (smaller) would be 3 inches

thus we know there will be a reduction in size, and that reduction will be determined by the first number given:

One one and a half times as small (smaller) would be 6 divided by 1½ = 4 inches.

#### Egmont

##### Senior Member
You can say this, but it's confusing. The reason is that we first hear "one and a half times ..." and we automatically think "larger." Then we hear "smaller." We have to stop, think, and go through a reasoning process much like that in PaulQ's post - while trying to listen to the next part of what you're saying. It would be clearer to say "two-thirds the size."

#### panjandrum

##### Occasional Moderator
...

thus we know there will be a reduction in size, and that reduction will be determined by the first number given:

One one and a half times as small (smaller) would be 6 divided by 1½ = 4 inches.
Hmm
Plausible, I suppose, although "one and a half times smaller than" suffers from the same problem as three times <as big as/ bigger than>, and that on top of what seems to me to be the illogical combination of "times" and "smaller" generally makes my once-mathematical brain hurt.

#### pob14

##### Senior Member
I agree with Panjandrum. "One time smaller" than something would be zero, nothing; "one and a half times smaller" would be . . . I don't know; antimatter, I guess.

#### xyzyxx

##### Senior Member
I've always considered "times smaller" to be extremely bad English, for the reasons Egmont pointed out.

I would recommend never saying "twice as small" and instead saying "half as big" or "half the size".

Instead of saying "one and a half times smaller" the proper thing to say would be "two-thirds as big".

#### PaulQ

##### Senior Member
I agree with Panjandrum. "One time smaller" than something would be zero, nothing; "one and a half times smaller" would be . . . I don't know; antimatter, I guess.
Ah, there is a difference between one timeø smaller and one times smaller.

one timeø = one instance; unit of scale; one size; etc.
one times = one multiplied by

Unfortunately we cannot tell whether the times in 'five times' is "multiplied by five" or five instances removed from."

However, as with so many examples of the numeral one, trivial results or mathematical anomalies occur, making 1 a poor example of anything mathematical (except 1 itself.)

Were it "One times smaller" your example's corollary would mean that dividing anything by 1 would result in zero... and to create a negative integer, there would have to be a negative integer (or odd number of them) in the original calculation.

#### pob14

##### Senior Member
Well, if "times" in this phrase means "multiplied by," why wouldn't "three times as small" as (for example) six be eighteen? The "as small" changes the multiplication to division?

None of this makes any sense to me.

#### Solle

##### Senior Member
I've always considered "times smaller" to be
extremely bad English, for the reasons Egmont pointed out.

I would recommend never saying "twice as small" and instead saying "half as big" or "half the size".

Instead of saying "one and a half times smaller" the proper thing to say would be "two-thirds as big".
This post was MUCH helpful! In fact I thought of saying "two-thirds the size", or "two-thirds as big", as "one and a half" is always confusing, but thought I should try to stick to the original. Now I realize there is a connotative confusion ('times' suggests something larger in English, unlike in Russian)