# "x into y" for multiplication (Indian English)

#### Thomas Veil

##### Senior Member
I heard some Indians using the preposition "into" to denote multiplication (pronouncing 5n as "five into en"), and I was wondering if anyone knows whether that's standard in Indian English.

• #### temple09

##### Senior Member
First of all - I have to say I know nothing about "Indian English", but are you sure that it was multiplication (or at least, sure that the speaker was sure?).
For me, X into Y is more likely to denote division.

#### abenr

##### Senior Member
I heard some Indians using the preposition "into" to denote multiplication (pronouncing 5n as "five into en"), and I was wondering if anyone knows whether that's standard in Indian English.

< --- > Five into N signals division.

< Off-topic comment removed. Cagey, moderator >

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#### Loob

##### Senior Member
I couldn't find a reference to Indian English in the OED entry for "into", but I did find this:
[8.] a. Used to indicate multiplication, as to multiply x into y (by considering the multiplicand replicated once for each unit of the multiplier). Obs.
[...]
1728
CHAMBERS Cycl. s.v. Plain Number, 20 is a plain number, produced by Multiplication of 5 into 4. 1839 DE QUINCEY Wordsworth in Tait's Mag. Jan. 10/1 An elderly man, who confessed to having passed the grand climacterical year (9 multiplied into 7) of 63.
[...].
So, yes, it's entirely possibly that "into" is perfectly correct in Indian English with the meaning "multiply by". We've found examples in previous threads of Indian English retaining older forms which present-day BrE/AmE have lost.

#### George French

##### Senior Member

7. (UK, archaic)(India)(mathematics) The operation of multiplication.[1]
Five into three is fifteen.

It is always very instructive to find that what is obvious to one English speaker is not to another. Beware of false friends/faux amis/Indian English/ etc......

GF..

It is bad enough trying to learn French with their faux amis, let alone understanding the "Universal English Language".......

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#### George French

##### Senior Member

Loob, I found the Wiki page independantly, I think? Or did I? Sometimes I get by all the info that is available..... The odd duplicate reference will always happen.....

My only excuse is I try to find some evidence before I look too closely at the references. Independant research does sometimes mean that one forgets to collaborate everything......

GF..

Thanks for pointing it out to me....

#### cantordust

##### New Member
Hey I'm Indian and we learn it like that at school, when we learn the tables.
The way we use it, the into stands for the cross (x), so its like reading 1+2 as 1 plus 2. so 1 X 2 is read as 1 into 2 (unless of course its a cross product of vectors :/).

I came across this thread as I was trying to figure why the heck we say it like that, as I used it today and confused for my poor supervisor. I guessed it might be archaic English that stuck in India, thanks for the link George

#### cantordust

##### New Member
Actually, the multiplicand replicated for each unit of the multiplier makes sense. Like if you put 2 coins each into 5 slots then you have 10 coins. bla. The cross being called into is something that gets stuck with us without being given any thought.

#### Myridon

##### Senior Member
Actually, the multiplicand replicated for each unit of the multiplier makes sense. Like if you put 2 coins each into 5 slots then you have 10 coins.
I can see the sense if the word "each" is added, however if you put 2 coins into 5 slots (no "each"), then you have 2/5 of a coin in each slot.

#### JulianStuart

##### Senior Member
Hey I'm Indian and we learn it like that at school, when we learn the tables.
The way we use it, the into stands for the cross (x), so its like reading 1+2 as 1 plus 2. so 1 X 2 is read as 1 into 2 (unless of course its a cross product of vectors :/).

I came across this thread as I was trying to figure why the heck we say it like that, as I used it today and confused for my poor supervisor. I guessed it might be archaic English that stuck in India, thanks for the link George
Thanks for the information. For completeness, could I ask you how you would say 3 / 5?

#### cantordust

##### New Member
Hey yes I can totally see how into would sensibly mean division, but this into business is a usage that gets drilled into us at the age of 7 or 8..so its difficult to unlearn. I always try to remember to use 'times' when outside India, but when I'm in the middle of an engrossing discussion I forget. 3/5 we read as 3 by 5 if a fraction or if you mean division we say 3 divided by 5, and its common to use the division sign (obelus) in schools. But there are no tables for division. I can rattle off the multiplication tables like 2 into 2 4, 3 into 2 6 etc at great speed but if I replace it by times it becomes too wordy for me and I can't do it Funny these things..

#### sandpiperlily

##### Senior Member
I'm not saying it's "wrong," I'm just cautioning that you might be misunderstood if you used it in the States!

#### cantordust

##### New Member
Yeah, lesson learnt. Luckily, I don't live in the States, but I do work with Americans sometimes