Two times larger than

Discussion in 'English Only' started by gladorient, May 29, 2011.

  1. gladorient Senior Member

    Chinese
    Most of my fellows believe that "two times larger than" means "three times as large as". However, I remember (dimmly) that an American teacher once said that "two times larger than" means "two times as large as". Can any one help me clarify that? Thanks!
     
  2. aes_uk Senior Member

    London/Cambridge
    English - England
    Yes, this is right. It means exactly the same thing. :)

    This is wrong - three is a different number to two!
     
  3. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    "two times larger than " is considered ambiguous by many people (although aes_uk is apparently not one of them) as in y=x + 2x OR y=2x. The words could mean " the amount by which y is larger than x (i.e. the difference by which it is larger) is two times (the value of) x "

    "two times as large as" is considered unambiguous y=2x
     
  4. aes_uk Senior Member

    London/Cambridge
    English - England
    When I first read gladorient's question, I was sure of my answer but now you're making me wonder slightly if I might be mistaken. I've certainly never heard of this ambiguity but what you're saying makes sense. Maybe it would be best to stick to using "two times as large as" and then "three times as large as" and just not use the "larger than" construction as it seems to create confusion, for me at least!
     
  5. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Gladorient : I agree that is very good advice. If you ever hear this "larger than ..." you should immediately ask for clarification from the speaker.


    Wait till you find the threads on "three times smaller than" :D
     
  6. gladorient Senior Member

    Chinese
    Thanks a lot!
    What I am looking for is "native speakers' intuition". Your first reaction actually is most reliable. You don't look at a word for a whole day to figure out its meaning, do you?
    Further, is it possible that these constructions are used differently by the British and the Americans?
     
  7. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    Well, I agree with aes_uk, but this was another of my middle school English teacher's pet peeves. ;)
     
  8. sevengem Senior Member

    Chinese
    It seems that most native speakers tend to think the two expressions are basically the same at first sight, but some may hesitate on second thought. So the clearest way of sayig this is "twice as large as".
     

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