English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a problem with the word "content". I wish to describe two mixtures of substances:

  • M1:A with plasticizer B, and
  • M2:A with plasticizer C.

Both mixtures contain a common third component, plasticizer Z.

Can I say "two substances with plasticizer contents of B and Z, and C and Z respectively" to underline that the plasticizers are different?

share|improve this question
Please use a complete sentence in the example you ask about; as is, your question is unclear. Unclear questions often are voted down or closed. – jwpat7 Dec 31 '11 at 19:19

Your own word, component, seems the best: "...with plasticizer components of B and Z". But this sounds like a technical context (is a plasticizer usually considered part of a mixture?), in which case you're probably better consulting other papers on the subject and following them,.

share|improve this answer
+1 for following what is standard in papers written for the specific field – sq33G Jan 1 '12 at 9:26

The phrase as revised,

two substances with plasticizer contents of B and Z, and C and Z respectively

is clear. An alternative might be phrased like

Besides z% of plasticizer Z in each, M1 has x% of X and M2 has y% of Y

share|improve this answer

Sometimes being too concise makes the reader pause to parse.

Just spell it out: "Mixtures M1:A and M2:A both contain plasticizer Z. Each mixture also contains one additional plasticizer - M1:A contains plasticizer B, and M2:A contains plasticizer C."

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


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.