I came across a math homework assignment that said,

"Round your answer one decimal place."

Interestingly, they decided to not omit the "to" in another phrasing:

"Round your answer to two decimal places."

I wonder if the "to" is optional. Personally, omitting the "to" sounds awkward to me, but I'm not sure if it's a personal preference or a general guideline.

The assignment is published on an official website called WebAssign, owned by Cengage, so it's not a single instructor handwriting/hand-typing these. These assignments are the standards of homework that are required in some courses in colleges like math and physics courses.

  • 2
    They don't mean the same thing. Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 22:45
  • Was the assignment written by the person who set it? That is did they copy it from a published work or type it up themselves?
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 22:52
  • @BoldBen Hi, I've updated the question to include more detail. It's a question from a well-known homework website that is often required by college instructors if you take their course, usually in math and physics. Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 23:02
  • 2
    I agree with John’s position. They don’t mean the same thing. if my answer has 7 decimal places, “Round your answer one decimal place” means reduce it to six decimal places of precision. But “Round it to one” means to round it 6 places (I.e. leave only one decimal place of precision)
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 23:09
  • 2
    While @JohnLawler is literally correct, I suspect that for physics homework it's a typo and that they mean to say "round it to" in both cases. If it is math homework the intention is harder to determine.
    – H2ONaCl
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 23:34

1 Answer 1


Suppose I have 3.14159.
In order to round it one decimal place, I would round it to 3.1416, that is one less place than before.
In order to round it to one decimal place, I would round it to 3.1, that is there is one decimal place left.

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