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Are both is equal to and equals similar in meaning? Which is the more natural?

For example, one plus one equals two or one plus one is equal to two.

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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Apr 27 at 11:48

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You can also add "is" to the list. –  Ice Boy Sep 7 '12 at 9:38
    
@skullpatrol: I agree with the answers and comments that say that “equals” and “is equal to” mean the same thing in most situations; always, in strictly mathematical contexts. Based on my understanding of English, I submit that “is” carries a slightly different connotation and nuance. (“It depends on what the meaning of the word `is’ is.”) For example, Superman is Clark Kent, but I wouldn’t say that they are equal. –  Scott Feb 12 '13 at 2:28

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Both are grammatically correct and mean the same. And both are the natural ways of saying it. Use either.

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Equals is equal being a verb, in the present tense. Is equal to is equal being a predicate adjective, with its auxiliary verb in the present tense. English is full of pairs like this, useful if one needs an extra syllable. As @Slkdfj Jfjf succinctly puts it, Use any. –  John Lawler Jun 16 '12 at 16:18
    
@JohnLawler Could you please look at this question? –  Ice Boy Sep 7 '12 at 11:29

"1+3=4" may be read "one plus three equals four" or "one plus three is equal to four". Both are correct, and commonly heard.

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However, for "1+3 < 10" we can say "one plus three is less than ten" but not "one plus three lesses ten". –  GEdgar Jun 16 '12 at 13:19
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Re "one plus three equals four" or "one plus three is equal to four" being commonly heard, I'm fairly sure I've never heard anybody say either of those phrases, and doubt I ever will. Why would anyone bother stating such a trivial sum? –  jwpat7 Jun 16 '12 at 18:42

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