Assume that we have a bag of candies, 10 candies, 6 of them square, 4 of them circle. You shall pick a random number between 0 and 100, and I will give you one of the candies by that number. You don't know my rule. But I tell you this:

  • The probability of you getting any one of the square candies is 2%.
  • Consequently, the probability of you getting any one of the circle candies is 22%.

Note that 2% * 6 + 22% * 4 = 100%

Now, my question: I would like to form this one single sentence that should convey all the information given in the two items above. My draft is as follows:

The probability of you getting a square candy is 12%.

It this fool-proof? Could this also mean that each of the square candies has a 12% chance, and the 6 combined has 72% chance?

I cannot change 12%; that will be the cornerstone of the sentence. How can I formulate this one sentence that is crystal clear, and only using 12% as a numeric value?

  • I don't think that's an ELL question, or even an English language question. – Jack O'Flaherty May 22 at 3:28
  • @JackO'Flaherty I don't see where else such a question would fit. It's all about how this phrase sounds to an English native. I cannot quite understand how they would think. Open to suggestions here; where else should I have asked it? – ThoAppelsin May 22 at 9:30
  • The sentence you highlighted, "The probability of you getting a square candy is 12%." is quite natural in English, as are the two previous sentences about probability. What is not "crystal clear" is whether that sentence accurately represents the probability in the situation you describe. That seems to be a question of combinatorics, not of English usage. There is an article here with multiple statements about probability that may help you: scientificamerican.com/article/what-are-the-chances – Jack O'Flaherty May 22 at 13:58
  • @JackO'Flaherty I was wondering, if you were both told the sentence I highlighted, and that there are 6 candies in the bag, and not told anything else (particularly the two previous sentences) would you think that you have a 12% chance of getting a square candy, or would you be confused that maybe they meant 12% for each individual square candy, so you have 72% in total for getting an arbitrary square candy? The article didn't help, unfortunately, as it does not mention of a probability of a group of same things as in this case. – ThoAppelsin May 22 at 14:47
  • Again, you are asking about combinatorics, not about English. There is a Stack Exchange mathematics site, and some of their questions are tagged "combinatorics". Maybe they can help. – Jack O'Flaherty May 22 at 14:59

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