I've been digging through the thesaurus and I can't seem to find a good word. The impetus for this is that I'm a programmer and I'd like a short, sweet way to distinguish between two very similar but also very different things.

I have a list of things, like pages in a book, and sometimes I want to get a page by number, and other times by relative position (like the page half way through the book).

Naming a function for getting a page by number is easy getPage(pageNum: number). But I can never figure out what to call the other one... getPageFromRatioOfLength(ratioOfLength: number) is a bit too verbose.

So my question is, if someone had $10.00 and got taxed $5.00, what kind of words could they use to ask whether they had been taxed -$5.00 or -50%? Are there any short, sweet, single terms that can describe and differentiate between these two forms of movement and relativity?

  • I've found a very interesting semi-applicable term which is angle. It doesn't feel totally right, but it does imply a sort of circular, slice image, rather than a measuring tape kind.
    – Seph Reed
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 0:49
  • 1
    getPageFromPercent? or getPageRelative vs getPageAbsolute?
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 1:09
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    When a variable has a range from 0 to 1, it is called normalized. So getPageNorm would be a possibility. However, in your case it looks awfully similar to getPageNum, so I would use getPageRaw and getPageNorm. Since it is a common convention to use a caret (circumflex) to mark normalized variables, getPageNumCaret would also work.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 2:34

1 Answer 1


Absolute vs relative

Where absolute implies the change has the same units as your original amount (i.e. -5 is in dollars because the 10 was in dollars) whereas relative would be a unitless amount (considering that original 10 dollar amount as a single unit)

Another way to say it might be units vs percentage

  • hmmm... even though it's the opposite of how you're using the word, I like units a lot for ratio stuff. Something like getUnitOfPages(pagesUnit) seems really usable and makes sense to me. getUnitOfFrames, getUnitOfTriathalon, getUnitOfSpan. I still feel like the "UnitOf" might have a better substitute, but this is definitely getting somewhere.
    – Seph Reed
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 6:44
  • I think Unit strongly implies absolute numbers rather than percentages and using it to mean a percentage change would be very confusing.
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 12:59
  • It's funny, I hear it the opposite way. Like, if I said I had 0.5 units of water, one would ask what the unit was, but no matter what it would be half that unit. So a way to say, the "unit of this number is the total number of pages" seems very applicable to me.
    – Seph Reed
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 17:07
  • @SephReed if you have units of pages, no one is going to ask what the unit is, because it is pages i.e. single pages. Thus 0.5 units of pages means half a page and not half of all the pages. The same goes for dollars...
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 17:20
  • Perhaps unit of book then
    – Seph Reed
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 18:14

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