I'm trying to translate this Dutch comic to English. I want to say that the probability of rain turns out to be higher than predicted, but that this probability is not of such magnitude that it actually rained. This is mathematical nonsense ofcourse, but that's the punchline of the joke.

My first attempt is: "The probability of rain turned out to be higher than predicted, but not of a magnitude such that it actually rained that day."

I can't figure out if this is grammatically correct or not. Does this make sense? Is there an easier, more concise way of explaining the joke in English?

  • 2
    Haha, dit is zo ongeveer de eerste keer dat ik Gummbah of how hij ook heet echt grappig vind. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Mar 25 '13 at 15:44
  • To OP, the "chance of rain" that you see on TV or read about, is not actually a probability percentage. The percentage is the amount of land area that they computed (out of a sample size) that will get rain 100%. So the translation (and even the original statement) might not make semantic sense. EDIT: On the other hand, since I just read it is a joke, it doesn't really matter. – jn1kk Mar 25 '13 at 21:27
  • If you want to practice your English, and check if what you're saying is correct, and natural English, lang-8.com may be a good fit. (Disclaimer: I use the site) I'm not voting to close, but just letting you know if other people close this question. – Andrew Grimm Mar 26 '13 at 0:23
  • @jsn, I know :) it also does not make sense mathematically, but that's the joke... – Stijn Mar 26 '13 at 8:53
  • @AndrewGrimm, nice suggestion, thanks. I apologize if my question does not fit on this website. – Stijn Mar 26 '13 at 8:54

I think in English it reads better like this:

"The chances of rain turned out to be higher than predicted, but not so high that it actually rained."

Of course, I can't read the original so I'm not sure how close it is.

  • Perfect! It is more than close enough. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Mar 25 '13 at 15:43
  • Ahh, I actually thought of a sentence like this but thought it wasn't proper English! Thanks a lot! – Stijn Mar 25 '13 at 15:48
  • 2
    @Stijn: Your first attempt is also correct, but the language is much more formal. Formal language works well in a joke when the formal language itself is a part of the joke. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Mar 25 '13 at 15:55
  • The form here is that of a weather bulletin, which usually is formal - specific words have well-defined meanings. However, that's no reason to pull out the dictionary. Generic weather bulletins often use a limited vocabulary, and e.g. "magnitude" isn't in there. "High chance" is. The joke here is of course that formally "chance" is used to refer to the probability of a future event, and here it's used for a past event (todays rain). – MSalters Mar 25 '13 at 16:19
  • weliswaar=indeed, ook weer niet=but then again not – mplungjan Mar 25 '13 at 17:18

My version

The chance of rain was indeed/admittedly higher than predicted, but then again not high enough for it to have actually rained that day


My take:

The chance of rain was indeed higher than predicted, but also not so high that it actually rained that day.

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