Here is the situation:

A math teacher (me) wrote on the board:

25% of an investment is accounted for $1500. Evaluate the amount of the investment.

An observer (another math teacher) mentioned afterwards that my sentence was a problem and needed to be more "defined". I asked the person what I should have written instead. He added the word "as" to the sentence: "25% of an investment is accounted for as $1500."

Am I correct? Is he correct? Are we both correct?


Does the word "as" add anything to the sentence?

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  • 4
    "25% of an investment is $1500. Evaluate the total amount of the investment." tests the maths and not an ability to decipher non-standard English. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 13 '18 at 16:56
  • 2
    I'm a math teacher, and I didn't understand what your question meant, with or without the addition of the word "as." Unlike @Edwin Ashworth I thought that the total investment was $1500, and 25% of this was accounted… until I got to the next sentence, asking for the amount of the investment. – Chaim Apr 13 '18 at 17:25
  • Why don't you just say "If 25% of an investment is $1,500, how much is the whole?" – WS2 Apr 13 '18 at 22:51
  • I understood the question as written, immediately. The answer is $6,000. – Bread Apr 14 '18 at 0:57

Your sentence appears to be a passivisation of "Something accounts for 25% of an investment $1500", which I can't parse because the $1500 has no grammatical role that I can find. It can't be the subject of "accounts for", and "accounts for" cannot take another argument. I suppose it could be in apposition to "an investment", but then I would expect it to be preceded by a comma (or "of").

I'm guessing that you actually meant it to be the passivisation of either "$1500 accounts for 25% of an investment", or "something accounts for 25% of an investment of $1500", but I'm not clear which.

  • ok, from your comments, I understand that the original question was at least ambiguous. I actually meant the former "$1,500 accounts for 25% of an investment". But, does the word "as" add clarity? – gegu Apr 13 '18 at 17:47
  • I think it does, but I think by would be clearer. Clearer still would be to turn the sentence round to make the principal the subject, or eliminate the confusing phrasal verb "account for". Eg "25% of an investment is $1500". – Colin Fine Apr 13 '18 at 18:01
  • you made me understand what I did not understand - I felt that something was more wrong than "as", but I could not put my finger on it. tnx. +1 – virolino Feb 12 at 12:08
  • @gegu: where would you place "as" in the new sentence, to add clarity? – virolino Feb 12 at 12:10

Eliminate the extra "the". I.E. Evaluate the investment (or invested) amount.

  • 1
    Addendum: If at all possible, do not use the same 'article' (the, a and an) in a sentence with the exception of duplication after a semicolon. Makes for a much 'cleaner' sentence, thus easier to comprehend/read. – Eddie B. True Apr 13 '18 at 16:27
  • 1
    As a general statement I disagree very strongly with this. It is good advice in many cases, but not all. Sometimes repeating an article will clarify rather than the reverse. – Colin Fine Apr 13 '18 at 18:02
  • Colin Fine, please notice it is but a goal to limit repetitive articles within sentence structure, not a maxim. Having so stated, please provide a sentence where repetitive articles clarify, rather than 'muddy' intent. Thanks. – Eddie B. True Apr 13 '18 at 18:53

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