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I am writing a paper and recieved a result of lets say 5. Literature says it should be 4. However, it is possible to recieve negative values. Which sentence is correct:

  1. The result is 25% more positive than the given value.

  2. The result is 0.25 times more positive than the given value

  3. The result is 125% more positive than the given value.

  4. The result is 1.25 times more positive than the given value.

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  • Hello and welcome to ELU. Could you say why you need to do this? These numbers look more like grades than 'marks'. If they are 'grades', then percentages are are not an appropriate way of expressing the difference, especially where the pass is as low as 4. What is the highest possible grade/mark? That gives a context. If the range is from 0 to 6, your grade of 4 means one thing, whereas, if it is 0 to 9 it means something quite difference. Either way, saying that your grade is 25% above the minimum (grammatically and arithmatetically correct as that is) is uninfomrative, or misleading.
    – Tuffy
    May 8, 2019 at 15:34
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    It's not clear what you are comparing - are you comparing 5 against 4? In my view, none of your options read 'properly' in English. I might say "The result is 25% higher than the target result."; or "... than the minimum pass figure."
    – TrevorD
    May 8, 2019 at 15:57
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    – TrevorD
    May 8, 2019 at 16:00
  • P.S. I also agree with the comments below by @geekahedron about the 3rd & 4th statements being mathematically incorrect; and regarding your use of "the given value"
    – TrevorD
    May 8, 2019 at 16:03
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    They're all of them wrong: nobody says "more positive" like this.
    – tchrist
    May 8, 2019 at 19:21

1 Answer 1

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Either of the first two sentences is grammatically and mathematically correct. However, the possibility of a negative value has no real bearing on the comparison of two positive numbers. You can simply say, "The result is 25% greater."

Your third and fourth statements are mathematically incorrect. A value of 5 is 125% or 1.25 of 4, but not 125% "more" (that would be 9).

Lastly, the "given" value would refer to the score that was you received (the 5), not the one from the literature. I would call the latter the "prescribed" value, perhaps, or the "correct" value if you wish to make a truth statement.

What I would say is this:

The given result is 25% greater than the prescribed value.

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  • Excellent explanation.
    – Davo
    May 8, 2019 at 16:23

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