Is 'XXX is statistically significant associated to YYY.' grammatically correct ? One of my friends says this is seen in many papers with statistics.

Shouldn't it be '... statistically significantly associated to ...' which has one Adv (statistically) describing another (significantly) ? Or this [Adv + Adj] can function as Adv as well ? (I don't think so) Or I misunderstood that it must be an adverb there ?

Testing and Contrasting Road Safety Education …

In model 4 we observe that variables RSET and DT are positive. This implies that a male driver who either had not graduated from a professional driving school or had not been issued a traffic ticket is less likely to engage in DD, than a male driver who had graduated from a professional driving school and had been issued a traffic ticket. However, between these two variables only DT is statistically significant associated to the odds ratio of DD. This association remains significant even with the introduction of two control variables which are also statistically significant. Specifically, both a decrease of YFE and an increase on YDE are associated to a decrease of the odds ratio of engaging on DD. [emphasis mine -Kris]

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    I don't see the need for "statistically". Especially in a paragraph that discusses statistical analysis. It should be enough to say "X is significantly associated with Y": the significance can refer only to statistical significance, not to, say, semantic significance ("meaning") or any other kind of significance. Academic writing is littered with bloated structures. However, it's necessary to have more of a context. eg, "Low levels of the BDNF gene are significantly associated with bipolar disorder". And it's "associated with", not "associated to".
    – user21497
    May 4, 2013 at 7:28
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    “Statistically significant” is a technical term with a clear definition. I am not aware of any widespread math definition of “significant” all by itself, so I say the word must be in there. May 4, 2013 at 8:33
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    Isn't the usual terminology: "The correlation between [height] and [self esteem] is statistically significant at the [95%] level"? May 4, 2013 at 11:12
  • The phrase 'statistically significant associated to' is correct, grammatically as well as contextual semantically. There was no need to suspect it in the first place. It means XXX has statistical significance, and is associated to YYY in a related way. Read on further to get the correct picture yourself.
    – Kris
    May 4, 2013 at 11:45
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    @Kris Can you explain a bit more on how the phrase can be grammatically correct? Like showing how the phrase is formed in a grammatical way. Or it is just that the phrase (and just this phrase) itself is correct, is being used like that and grammar accepts it? I don't think a part from a paper is a good reference to show correctness here, since the reason I started suspecting is the same thing.
    – user43298
    May 4, 2013 at 17:11

2 Answers 2


No, it is not correct. A grammatically correct alternative that I'd suggest is:

statistically significant with respect to

See these references.

  • That's a great suggestion, but still doesn't answer the question...
    – user43298
    May 4, 2013 at 7:24
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    The answer is, "No, it is not correct. A grammatically correct alternative is..."
    – Jim
    May 4, 2013 at 7:25
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    I was about to say your answer is not an answer to the OP's question, but then I realised I'd rather agree with your view that the whole string needs an overhaul, as you suggest - perhaps the one you suggest. Though there seems to be an alarming rise in the usage the OP cites. And as it becomes statistically significant, it will become acceptable grammar. May 4, 2013 at 11:13
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    “Statistically significant with respect to” appears to be an incorrect rephrasing. The intended meaning is that there is a statistically significant association between DT and DD, not that “DT is statistically significant with respect to DD”, a meaningless statement. May 4, 2013 at 16:13
  • @jwpat7- It's not clear to me that the example added by Kris is the same situation as OP's usage. Also, I'd call that a correlation not an association. I don't think that using "with respect to" is inherently meaningless. The angle cast by the shadow of a sundial is statistically significant with respect to the time-of-day regression, but it may not be significant with respect to the amount of money in my bank account.
    – Jim
    May 4, 2013 at 17:49

It's clearly ungrammatical - "statistically significant" is adjectival & can't be used as an adverb with the verb "associated". I've never seen the phrase before - better to say "has a statistically significant association with DD". Note also that "the odds ratio of DD [drunk driving]" is meaningless—you need two odds to form a ratio (see e.g. Odds and odds ratios in logistic regression). Later on it should be "associated with a decrease in the odds of engaging in DD".

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