# Use of ratio

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#### Learnathon

##### Banned
From the ratio of shoppers to elevators, he might conclude that they were not. - What does this sentence mean? I'm confused.

#### Learnathon

##### Banned
From the ratio of shoppers to elevators, he might conclude that they were not. - Dictionary.com paid example sentences.

#### waltern

##### Senior Member
I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but FWIW ratio here means how many shoppers there were relative to how many elevators -

1000 shoppers and 4 elevators = a 250:1 ratio
200 shoppers and 2 elevators = a 100:1 ratio
etc.

#### Learnathon

##### Banned
I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but FWIW ratio here means how many shoppers there were relative to how many elevators -

1000 shoppers and 4 elevators = a 250:1 ratio
200 shoppers and 2 elevators = a 100:1 ratio
etc.
I guess it could be a broken sentence but it ends with a period... So, I'm really not sure.. That's the sentence given as an example on the paid version of www.dictionary.com

#### waltern

##### Senior Member
I guess it could be a broken sentence but it ends with a period... So, I'm really not sure.. That's the sentence given as an example on the paid version of www.dictionary.com
Without further context I can't conclude anything further about the sentence either, sorry - but (mathematically speaking) the meaning of "ratio of shoppers to elevators" is as I posted.

#### Egmont

##### Senior Member
This sentence is used as an example of many words in different places: ratio, conclude and others. It is from "Elevator Hack" by Nick Paumgarten, originally published in The New Yorker on October 17, 2005. With the sentence before, it reads "How could a man be sure that other passengers were even there? From the ratio of shoppers to elevators, he might conclude that they were not." The context is a discussion of a person traveling from the ninth floor to the ground floor of a building without stopping for anyone else.

The meaning of ratio is as posted. In this context, the relevant numbers are: one elevator, no other shoppers - as far as the person in that elevator could tell.

(The real source was not hard to find. Google is your friend.)

#### Learnathon

##### Banned
This sentence is used as an example of many words in different places: ratio, conclude and others. It is from "Elevator Hack" by Nick Paumgarten, originally published in The New Yorker on October 17, 2005. With the sentence before, it reads "How could a man be sure that other passengers were even there? From the ratio of shoppers to elevators, he might conclude that they were not." The context is a discussion of a person traveling from the ninth floor to the ground floor of a building without stopping for anyone else.

The meaning of ratio is as posted. In this context, the relevant numbers are: one elevator, no other shoppers - as far as the person in that elevator could tell.

(The real source was not hard to find. Google is your friend.)
But as a standalone sentence it doesn't make any sense at all, so why would dictionary.com use it as an example?

#### waltern

##### Senior Member
But as a standalone sentence it doesn't make any sense at all, so why would dictionary.com use it as an example?
You would have to ask the dictionary.com editors - however, if we're speculating, it might just be selected from a body of texts by a "dumb" algorithm?

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