which of them should be preferred in academic British English?

2 times higher

2-times higher

and would how to write a ranging difference

2-3-times higher

  • 3
    How about two times higher or twice as high? – Jim Jan 24 at 8:05

Times = used to show the difference in amount of two things, by multiplying one of them by the stated number

”My foot swelled up to three times the normal size when it was stung by a wasp.”

Cambridge dictionary

There is no need to form a compound term “two-times” in such context. (Do not be diverted by the tempting analogy with two-timer, which is an accepted idiomatic term for adulterers and others.)

From this argument I would always edit “2-times” to “2 times”.

To indicate a range, “2 to 3 times ...” clearly indicates a number in the range from 2 to 3, without the slight suggestion of ambiguity that 2-3 may be an arithmetic expression (with value -1), and without the weird idea of a compound term or notion composed of the disjoint elements “2”,”3”, and “times”.

  • 1
    I hardly think that an expression "2–3 times higher" would ever be interpreted as "–1 times higher", and indeed when writing 2–3 in an English text rather than a maths exam would ever be read that way. – Andrew Leach Jan 24 at 10:43
  • @AndrewLeach Indeed, but I did use the word "slight". – Anton Jan 24 at 10:53

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