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The processor determines whether value X ≧ 100.

I am trying to rewrite the above sentence without using the mathematical symbol. My example is as follows:

The processor determines whether value X is greater than or equal to 100.

I am afraid that this may be misinterpreted as follows:

The processor determines whether value X is greater than 100 or value X is equal to 100.

Is there a possibility of such misinterpretation?

  • 1
    I'd say yes. To avoid ambiguity, I think you could rephrase this as:**The processor determines whether value X might be* equal to or greater than 100.** I prefer putting equal to before greater than as a natural order of progression. – Ronald Sole Apr 5 '18 at 13:32
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Yes, there is a possibility of misinterpretation. In conversational English, it would likely be clear what you meant, but in a technical specification, it's critical that your intent be unambiguous.

I think this situation might be one in which the mathematical symbol is actually clearer than the equivalent English, but I would suggest the following if you absolutely need to make this change:

The processor determines whether or not value X is greater than or equal to 100.

The processor determines whether value X is less than 100.

  • I want to use the phrase "greater than or equal to", so I will adopt your first sentence. – rama9 Apr 5 '18 at 15:43
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Yes, it is ambiguous. There are other phrases that more clearly express "greater than or equal". For instance, you can say "at least". In some contexts, "has reached" works. Also, "The processor determines whether value X is greater than or equal to 100.", in the sense you mean, is logically equivalent to "The processor determines whether value X is less than 100."

  • @godel9, Yes, that's what I meant to say. – Acccumulation Apr 5 '18 at 14:43
  • In that case, I withdraw my comment. :-) – godel9 Apr 5 '18 at 14:45

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