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"The treatment has a complete necrosis rate of around 30%."

Or should the preposition "of" be deleted:

"The treatment has a complete necrosis rate around 30%."

To me both sentences mean the same, but which one is grammatically correct?

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around is not a preposition here. – Kris Feb 17 '12 at 7:01
Why in the world would you think around a preposition? – tchrist Feb 17 '12 at 13:42
@tchrist: 'around' is more usually used as a preposition - "around the house", "around the tree". – Mitch Feb 17 '12 at 17:36
@Mitch I think that our brains don’t work that way. We see something in a slot and infer its part of speech that way. For example, if I wrote “That doesn’t look as foobly-woobly as I expected it to look” you would have no trouble identifying what part of speech the unknown term foobly-woobly needs to be. Deciding what a word is according to its formal dictionary entry instead of according to its actual phrasal use seems a failed strategy doomed to failure in English, where we can whiffle all the frumious Bandersnatches we please. :) – tchrist Feb 17 '12 at 17:53
@tchrist: Kris said 'around' is not a preposition here (in reference to it being called one by the OP in the title). I agree: it usually is (like the examples I gave), but functionally it is acting like an adverb. Peoples brains work functionally (I think that is the simplistic version of what you're saying), but talking about what people think isn't so functional. I'm sure most people would say, whatever the proportion of preposition to adverb, that canonically, out of context, 'around' -is- a preposition (forgetting its other functions). – Mitch Feb 17 '12 at 19:47
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Use the preposition. Rate of is a common prepositional phrase, and around is used here as an adverb meaning "approximately":

around 5 approximately; about: software costs would be around $1,500 [NOAD]

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The intent of your answer is right, but one point is not. 'rate of' is not a prepositional phrase; 'rate of about 30 %' is a noun followed by the prepositional phrase 'of around 30%'. – Mitch Feb 17 '12 at 17:35

Both versions (...rate of around 30% and rate around 30%) sound ok to my middle-American ear, but for a technical presentation I would instead use one of the following.

The treatment has a complete necrosis rate of about 30%.
The treatment has a complete necrosis rate of ca. 30%.
The treatment's complete necrosis rate is about 30%.

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