Author Topic: Pronouncing 0.15% as "Point fifteen percent" instead of "Point one five percent"  (Read 2533 times)

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Offline SiliconWizard

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I usually say "point one five" myself, having mostly heard that form from native speakers. But I don't know if it's the correct way of saying it in English. Or maybe it could also depend on local variants of English?

In other languages, saying the decimals as a number is certainly not uncommon. In French for instance, we'd say "zéro virgule quinze" (we don't omit the leading zero), and never "zéro virgule un cinq", spelling any number digit by digit being very unnatural. But it's relatively common in English, and in other contexts than decimals too.

 

Offline tggzzz

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I usually say "point one five" myself, having mostly heard that form from native speakers. But I don't know if it's the correct way of saying it in English. Or maybe it could also depend on local variants of English?

In other languages, saying the decimals as a number is certainly not uncommon. In French for instance, we'd say "zéro virgule quinze" (we don't omit the leading zero), and never "zéro virgule un cinq", spelling any number digit by digit being very unnatural. But it's relatively common in English, and in other contexts than decimals too.

It is correct English, but some people get it wrong.

In French (and any other language) how would you say 0.1 and 0.01 and 0.001?
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Offline ataradov

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In French (and any other language) how would you say 0.1 and 0.01 and 0.001?
"One tenth", "one hundredth" and "one thousands" in Russian. Anything else will get you strange looks.

In some informal conversational contexts even "one" can be dropped.
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Offline Twoflower

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In French (and any other language) how would you say 0.1 and 0.01 and 0.001?
German:
0.1: Null Komma Eins (zero point one)
0.01: Null Komma Null Eins (zero point zero one)
0.001: Null Komma Null Null Eins (zero point zero zero one)
But in this case also ein Zehntel (one tenth), ein Hundertstel (one hundredth) and ein Tausendstel (one thousands) can be used.

In German the point and comma are switched. And the leading zero is included.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2019, 07:59:07 pm by Twoflower »
 
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Offline SL4P

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I was taught that decades, fractions etc shouldn’t be used after the decimal point. Except with currency!

515.15 - is five hundred and fifteen point one five

That’s all
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Online IanB

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"one thousands" in Russian

ein Tausendstel (one thousands) can be used

 ;D

Even though it seems unpronounceable, it would be "one thousandth" in English  :)
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Offline SiliconWizard

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In French (and any other language) how would you say 0.1 and 0.01 and 0.001?

zéro virgule un
zéro virgule zéro un
zéro virgule zéro zéro un

Yes you found a case that's similar to English, because here this is the only way to make it non ambiguous. The "leading" zeros in the decimals are of course all significant, and they can't be expressed by a single number.

That said, 0.015 would be said: "zéro virgule zéro quinze". So only the leading zeros are spelled out individually (because they can't be expressed any other way).

Expressing this as a fraction is correct, but it would be weird to read the above as 15/1000. We usually express numbers as fractions only if they are written as fractions to begin with.


« Last Edit: October 20, 2019, 09:38:11 pm by SiliconWizard »
 

Offline Zero999

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Strictly speaking, 0.15% should be pronounced point one, five percent, but I wouldn't bother correcting anyone for saying point fifteen percent, because I would know what they mean. I don't see the point in being overly pedantic and all it would do is annoy people.

By the way, I would pronounce 0.0015% as, nought, point, oh, oh, one, five percent or nought point double zero, five percent.
 

Offline jhpadjustable

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515.15 - is five hundred and fifteen point one five
And fifteen? I was taught that was vulgar and improper in modern English, all that fancy talk about 24 blackbird pies notwithstanding. Maybe it's a Commonwealth thing. But "y" between each component is right and proper in Spanish.
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Offline schmitt trigger

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Cero punto quince in Spanish....at least in Mexico.

The Spanish language deviates, sometimes significantly, across the different world regions where it is spoken.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2019, 09:31:08 pm by schmitt trigger »
 

Online IanB

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And fifteen? I was taught that was vulgar and improper in modern English, all that fancy talk about 24 blackbird pies notwithstanding. Maybe it's a Commonwealth thing. But "y" between each component is right and proper in Spanish.

Every British person you meet is likely to say 515 as "five hundred and fifteen".

In America it may be customary to drop the "and" and just say "five hundred fifteen" but that definitely doesn't sound right to British ears.

For example:

https://youtu.be/u84-Nl5WjSA
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Online tooki

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I notice that in a lot of non-technical content (often american TV), that when decimal number are verbalised (I'll take 0.15% as my example), they'll say "[Zero] point fifteen percent" instead of "[Zero] point one five percent".

I've been getting increasingly curious where this tendency is coming from. Does the USA Elementary School Maths Curriculum actively allow (or even encourage) this?
Definitely not. Some people say it, but it is decidedly frowned upon. It is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Besides, it’s just asking for more Verizon math (original recording|companion blog)...
 

Offline ataradov

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Even though it seems unpronounceable, it would be "one thousandth" in English  :)
Well, yes, exactly. And I think this has huge influence on this whole discussion. The versions that are widely used are more pronounceable ones.

Same goes for 1500 as "fifteen hundred".  It is just easier to pronounce. But if you try to do the same in Russian, nobody will understand you.
Alex
 

Online IanB

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Same goes for 1500 as "fifteen hundred".  It is just easier to pronounce. But if you try to do the same in Russian, nobody will understand you.

This one is actually interesting. If I have 1500 widgets, I will say that I have one thousand five hundred widgets. But if I want to say Reginald Pole was born in 1500, I will say he was born in the year fifteen hundred.
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Offline EEVblog

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If I was ever to hear someone say "point fifteen" in person then I think it would be annoying enough for me to correct them, especially if we are talking anything scientific or engineering.
There are many other thing I'd let slide, but this one I think would be over the line for me.
 
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Offline notsob

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And in some instances, especially for clarity over radio comms, the "point" is verbally replaced by "decimal"

i.e. zero decimal one five
 

Offline Johnboy

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I was taught to say "Five dollars and fifteen cents."
When I'm standing at point of sale, the cashier will say, "That will be five fifteen."
We both know that whatever I just bought doesn't cost five hundred fifteen dollars. Generally the decimal isn't mentioned.
If I have to say 0.15, it's probably more clear to say "zero point one five" than "fifteen hundredths of one percent".
If I have to say 0.0000015, it might be easier to say "one and one-half millionths of one percent". If I say "one point five millionths of one percent" there's quite a bit of room for error in comprehension.

Actually, it's all pretty bad.



(Edited for additional cipher.)
« Last Edit: October 21, 2019, 02:39:22 am by Johnboy »
 

Offline Moshly

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Actually, Numberphlie tackled this a while back ->



And

 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Well, there are obviously differences between languages and even differences between different "versions" of English. I don't see a problem with that.

Frankly, "point fifteen" may sound weird or completely incorrect to some, but it's perfectly understandable, and I think, not ambiguous either. And yes English is currently used by many different people with different variants. Of course that tends to butcher the english language a bit, but OTOH, this is currently what makes worldwide communication possible. This forum wouldn't even be close to what it is if that weren't the case.

As coppercone2 said...  ;D
 

Offline schmitt trigger

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That is the reason for scientific and engineering notation.

And in some instances people have already incorporated into their language.

For instance; if a doctor prescribes you an antibiotic, he will not instruct you to take  zero dot 25 grams every 4 hours, but rather 250 milligrams every four hours.
And people fully understand it.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Frankly, "point fifteen" may sound weird or completely incorrect to some, but it's perfectly understandable, and I think, not ambiguous either.

That's true, but it makes me think the speaker might not distinguish between 0.1 and 0.01. Yes, that would be grossly ignorant and innumerate - but many people are exactly that.

Well-known special cases are of course excepted, e.g. currency such as £5.15.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline Zero999

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Currency is different because the decimal denotes the change from pounds, pennies or dollars to cents etc.

I still don't see the point in arguing about it. Perhaps if it's in a technical discussion, then it may be worthwhile asking for confirmation, but don't bother in informal situations.
 

Online tooki

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The Verizon Math thing I linked above exemplifies precisely the confusion that dumb people get into with decimals in currency. That’s why we exactly should not be teaching that the decimal point denotes a change in denomination.
 

Offline Zero999

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The Verizon Math thing I linked above exemplifies precisely the confusion that dumb people get into with decimals in currency. That’s why we exactly should not be teaching that the decimal point denotes a change in denomination.
That's how I always thought of it and never had any problems. A hundred pennies in a pound, so £1.50 means one pound and fifty pence. No one would say "one point five pounds", even though it would still be right. In the olden days there used to be 240 pennies in a pound, but only really old people remember that.  :P
 

Offline tggzzz

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The Verizon Math thing I linked above exemplifies precisely the confusion that dumb people get into with decimals in currency. That’s why we exactly should not be teaching that the decimal point denotes a change in denomination.
That's how I always thought of it and never had any problems. A hundred pennies in a pound, so £1.50 means one pound and fifty pence. No one would say "one point five pounds", even though it would still be right.

Unfortunately for that position, many restaurants now have menus containing prices like £4.5 instead of £4.50.

I don't like it, but it isn't wrong.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 


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