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.

I was wondering how should I rephrase the below sentence such that it is grammatically correct (accepted in standard American English):

10 modulo 3 equals 1.

Initially, I'd thought that it is grammatically correct, but dictionary.com claims that it is an adverb and not a verb, so it looks like that above usage is wrong.

What's the grammatically correct usage of the word "modulo" ?

share|improve this question
    
The classical usage would be $10$ equals $3$ modulo $1$, –  GEdgar Jan 28 '12 at 14:28
2  
I don’t understand the question. Modulo can be preposition or an adjective. It is neither a verb nor an adverb. –  tchrist Jan 28 '12 at 15:19
    
@tchrist the source I provided in the question (dictionary.com) states that it is an adverb.. –  Pacerier Jan 28 '12 at 17:36
1  
AHED, Webster, Oxford, and Wordnik all list modulo as a preposition. Dictionary.com is in a distinct minority, and I wouldn't worry about phrasing something grammatically based on its possibly erroneous categorization. –  Gnawme Jan 29 '12 at 5:53
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Mathematics would say: "10 is congruent to 1 modulo 3". The modified usage "10 modulo 3" with "modulo" as an operation (like "10 plus 3") is from computer programming.

share|improve this answer
2  
No, modulo as a preposition is older than computer programming is. Check the OED for mod, modulo. These are from the 19ᵗʰ century (barely): the first documented use appears to be Gauss in 1801. –  tchrist Jan 28 '12 at 15:10
    
Yes, what I wrote is correct. It does not contradict "modulo as a preposition". –  GEdgar Jan 28 '12 at 19:29
add comment

The verb in your sentence is equals. The entire sentence can be parsed either as 10 modulo 3 being a noun phrase with modulo 3 operating as an adjective, or as modulo 3 equals being a verb phrase with modulo 3 operating as an adverb. Whichever analysis is preferred, the usage is perfectly standard, if slightly imprecise. The reference you cite is correct to prefer is congruent to over equals.

share|improve this answer
    
10 is a noun right? so 10 modulo 3 = [noun][adverb][noun] and that's a grammatical phrase? –  Pacerier Jan 28 '12 at 10:49
1  
@Pacerier Binary operators like 4+5 or 10%3 are grammatically prepositions. Four plus five, ten modulo three. –  tchrist Jan 28 '12 at 13:18
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.