Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Algorithm X was applied to the data. There were neither false positives nor false negatives.

I'd like to replace the second sentence with

There were no _______.

Which word covers both false positive and false negative and fits a technical report?

share|improve this question
add comment

4 Answers

As explained in the Type I and II errors Wikipedia article,

Type I error ... and Type II error ... are precise technical terms used by statisticians to describe particular flaws in a testing process, where ... something that should have been accepted was rejected, and where something that should have been rejected was accepted (respectively).
Unfortunately, the terms are also used, in a far more general way, by social scientists and others ...

I think one can draw two conclusions from this:

  1. One can reasonably say "There were no Type I or II errors" when one means "There were neither false positives nor false negatives."
  2. It's unlikely, because of the mentioned misuse of statistical terms, that shorter precise phrasing exists; and if your testing does not conform to usual hypothesis testing convention, do not use Type I and II terminology.
share|improve this answer
add comment

How about there were no inaccurate results or no errors?

share|improve this answer
    
Maybe; I was hoping for a more specific statistical term. –  Tim N Dec 25 '11 at 21:34
    
@Tim: 'error' is not an appropriate technical term? –  Mitch Dec 26 '11 at 0:34
    
@Tim Perhaps "There were no mis-classifications" or "Algorithm X was applied to the data and classified all the data correctly" might work for you depending on what Algorithm X actually does. –  Dilip Sarwate Dec 26 '11 at 0:36
add comment

How about there were no false positives nor negatives? It's not a single word, but it may make the original sentence more fluent.

Or maybe the simpler there were no false results? Considering that the audience has some knowledge that would let them infer that by false result you are meaning both false positives and false negatives.

share|improve this answer
1  
"There were no false results" has merit, but "there were no false positives nor negatives" has a problem; it is ambiguous or a double negative. One could grammatically but clumsily say "there were neither false positives nor negatives". –  jwpat7 Dec 26 '11 at 0:27
add comment

Spurious covers both false positives and false negatives. Per the reference in the link:

Spurious refers to things that are not what they are claimed to be.

The noun form of spurious (an adjective) is spuriousness.

Note also that spurious sees common usage in statistics, such as in spurious correlation.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.