Sentence Structure in Math

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?

or

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

• "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. Apr 13 '18 at 16:56
• 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. 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. 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". 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 Feb 12 '19 at 12:08
• @gegu: where would you place "as" in the new sentence, to add clarity? Feb 12 '19 at 12:10

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

• 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
• 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. 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