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I encountered this sentence today while translating form english:

These alloys lack the crystallinity of conventional engineering alloys, and some of their properties —such as higher yield stress and elastic strain limit— are greatly improved relative to their crystalline counterparts.

What would be the meaning of improved here? Does it simply mean better? Which means that their properties are much better than that of the crystalline ones? Or the comparison here is between the level of improvement of the properties of the two types of alloys?

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    Yes, it just means better. To improve something means to make it better, so "improved" as an adjective means that it's the result of that action.
    – Barmar
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 1:19
  • You need to add context (doubtless that these alloys have been developed. So 'improved' means 'made better' (though just 'better' is acceptable) (and 'relative to their crystalline counterparts' could more crudely be written 'than their crystalline counterparts'. Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 14:24
  • @EdwinAshworth I can't rephrase the English here, I am just trying to figure out the meaning to understand it properly. the context pretty much conveys the meaning that the first alloys are better in these properties. Besides, if the intending meaning was to compare the improvement of the two types, wouldn't the writer use "have been improved relative to" instead? Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 17:59
  • Without confirmation that prior text contains something to the effect of 'these new alloys are made by a novel process' (or not), one can't say whether 'made better' or just 'better' is more appropriate. // Not necessarily. Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 18:52
  • @edwin ashworth I totally agree, just wanted to make sure that there is no decisive rule here. Thanks so much Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 19:22

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I agree with Barmar. "Improved" does not mean "better" it means "made better".

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  • In 'The weather has improved', it just means 'become better'. And 'Thanks to the improved weather conditions, we were able to sail' is acceptable. Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 14:27
  • @packard wouldn't the writer use "have been improved" if the intended meaning was "made better"? Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 18:03
  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review
    – jimm101
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 21:54
  • @jimm101 This is a serious attempt to answer the question although it also contains an opinion. If you believe it is wrong, downvote it. Don't use the review process to suggest deleting poor but sincere answers. It could be improved by quoting a reputable source.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 0:31

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