I read a sentence in a chapter in my book which was:

Death rate in Bihar in 1967 was 34% higher than the number of deaths that occurred in the following year.

I think, in comparison, we tend to compare present situation to a past one. So I think by reason of logic, "preceding" should be there instead of "following" in the sentence. Am I right in thinking so?

  • 3
    This doesn't appear to be a question about English. In English, and every other language (as far as I know) you can compare any two situations - not just a present situation and a previous one. Ex: Tomorrow is going to be warmer than today. Yesterday was warmer than today. Yesterday was warmer than tomorrow is supposed to be. Yesterday was warmer than two days ago, etc. The death rate in 1967 may have been 34% higher than the death rate in 1968 or the rate in 1966. But that's a historical question, not a linguistic one.
    – Juhasz
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 15:47
  • It's likely to be a mistake, but not necessarily - it depends on what precedes. If they are talking about the rate decreasing over time, or if they have previously mentioned 1968, then it might be what is intended. But I agree with :@Juhasz that this is not really a quesion about English.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 16:08
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about logic or personal opinion, not the English language. Commented May 20, 2019 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


No, it's not incorrect. It just means that's it's comparing the statistic to the following year, rather than the preceding one, presumably to make a point about the death rate falling sharply.

(Of course it's possible that it's incorrect, and the author mismanaged the statistics, but the statement is perfectly grammatical and sensible.)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .