# The usage of “assign”

Suppose the following assignment:

X=20

I know that the common phrase is:

20 is assigned to X

How can I say the sentence in reverse order, to begin with X?

• Have you looked it up in a dictionary? – userr2684291 Jan 17 '17 at 13:50
• @user26 yes, but its example wasn't about a variable and a value. Also check my modification. – Ahmad Jan 17 '17 at 13:54
• I would suggest that you try to understand the definition instead. – userr2684291 Jan 17 '17 at 13:58
• @user26 I read that and I guess the first one is correct but my question is different. Please read my question and don't repeat general advice. – Ahmad Jan 17 '17 at 14:01
• @user26 but all are not agee that both are correct. Also I asked several related questions. Check them again. – Ahmad Jan 17 '17 at 14:10

I suppose either is correct depending on context.

If you were defining a math problem for example, 5 + 6 = 11 to make this equation a math problem I would assign one of the values a variable. 5 = x, therefore x + 6 = 11 making it a problem.

Vice versa..

In order to solve the equation I would assign the variable a value, x = 5 by progress of elimination to figure out the correct value of the variable.

• Assigning a value to a variable
• Assigning a variable to a value

I'd find the first one easier to understand.

Let's take computer programming as the example. In some programming languages, "=" is the "assignment operator". `\$a = 5;` I can read this as "\$a becomes equal to 5" or "let \$a be(come) equal to 5" or "Assign the value 5 to the variable \$a".

In this context, nothing can be "assigned to" a value. I could make a grammatical argument that second just means the same as the first, but it just strikes me as a common accidental reversal.

Edit after OP's Major edit: Borrowing from user2684291 You could say "Assigning X 20".

Or perhaps in a sentence fragment By assigning X 20, we can calculate...

• I want to use the variable first, maybe "setting \$a to 5" but I also thought "assigning \$a with 5" works. does it work? – Ahmad Jan 17 '17 at 14:36
• Check my own answer too. – Ahmad Jan 17 '17 at 14:43
• Yes, setting \$a to 5 is fine. "Here we set \$pi to 3.14 so that we can..." – TecBrat Jan 17 '17 at 15:01
• Here's another NGram to show the popularity of the two phrases: books.google.com/ngrams/… – TecBrat Jan 17 '17 at 15:10
• A major edit to the OP question has left my answer seeming a little strange, but still relevant. – TecBrat Jan 17 '17 at 15:16

Depends. Imagine that a value is a number. And variable is the thing which declares the number. Math example:

a=15; a=variable. 15 is a value of "a" variable.

• You didn't say how it depends. – Ahmad Jan 17 '17 at 13:48

In the example:

X = 20

20 is assigned to X.

If you want to change the order you can say:

X is set to 20

If you want to use the same assign verb, you can say:

X is assigned the value 20.

• Google NGram does not support this books.google.com/ngrams/… , (Greater than zero support, but not much greater than zero.) – TecBrat Jan 17 '17 at 14:52
• This isn't the only interpretation, since the OP doesn't know what assignment means. Please provide more context. – userr2684291 Jan 17 '17 at 14:56
• You can say: "the value is assigned to the variable" or "the variable is assigned the value" with no difference in meaning (or the reversal of the assignment operator; assuming `variable = value` to mean `variable <- value`). – userr2684291 Jan 17 '17 at 15:15
• I didn't. That would convey a slightly different (and the opposite) meaning. – userr2684291 Jan 17 '17 at 15:18
• @user2684291 Then what I was looking for is "the variable is assigned the value" without "with". right? thank you! – Ahmad Jan 17 '17 at 15:22