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I need to describe the following data highlighting the difference in terms of tonnes between the amount of gas and oil sold in 2014.

In 2014 were sold

  • 10 tonnes of oil
  • 20 tonnes of gas

Are the following sentences correct?

  • In 2014 10 more tonnes of gas were sold compared to oil
  • In 2014 the amount of gas sold was 10 tonnes more than that of oil
  • In 2014 the amount of gas sold was twice the amount of oil
  • They're all perfectly valid, and it's purely a matter of opinion which of these (or any alternative phrasing) is "best" in any given context. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 23 '14 at 13:11
  • It looks like you accidentally edited the 3rd bullet point, too, and now it is wrong. :) It should be: In 2014, the amount of gas sold was twice the amount of oil. – michelle Oct 23 '14 at 13:44
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    @michelle The 3rd bullet point was wrong in the first version as well. Just edited. Thanks – Robbo Oct 23 '14 at 14:10
  • Which sentence is better is primarily opinion based, but which sentence is correct is objective, so I think the question should be left open. – ColleenV Oct 23 '14 at 14:23
  • @Robbo - Apparently, I read what I wanted to see in that last bullet point. Sorry I missed it earlier! – michelle Oct 23 '14 at 14:42
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With the edits you've made, all of the sentences are factually correct and convey the meaning you were looking for. I would suggest adding a comma after 'In 2014' in all cases, so you would have:

  • In 2014, 10 more tonnes of gas were sold compared to oil.
  • In 2014, the amount of gas sold was 10 tonnes more than that of oil.
  • In 2014, the amount of gas sold was twice the amount of oil.

As to which to choose, it really depends on what information you want to focus on. The final sentence emphasizes the dramatic difference in sales between the two products. The first two sentences emphasize the 10 tonne difference,which could be a major difference or a minor one, depending on how much oil was sold.


Two of the sentences are correct, but one changes the meaning of the data.

In 2014 20 more tonnes of gas were sold compared to oil.

This sentence would mean that the following equation would be true:

gas sales - oil sales = 20 tonnes

That isn't the case. According to your data, the answer to that problem would be 10 tonnes. You could say something like this, though:

In 2014, 20 tonnes of gas were sold. This compares to 10 tonnes of oil sold.

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  • That was a typo. I meant "In 2014 10 more tonnes of gas were sold compared to oil". Just fixed the question. Thanks – Robbo Oct 23 '14 at 13:26
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The answer is obvious, #3, because it provides the most information. We don't know what difference "10 tonnes more" represents. Is it 10% more? 50% more. #3 gives us that info, even though it does not provide the raw numbers. But that's not really an English-language question. :-)

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  • Well, but "twice as much" could also be misleading. Like suppose one person says, "Our political party is the fastest growing in the country! We added 1 million members last year!" Another replies, "No, our party is the fastest growing! We grew by 50%!" If the first party went from 10 million to 11 million while the second went from 2 to 3 (the founder and his brother got the brother's girlfriend to join), both statements are completely true. In this case I'd say the percentage is misleading. – Jay Oct 23 '14 at 20:09
  • Yes, that is a kind of problem. But here we don't run into it. We're not comparing a rate of change to another rate of change; we're comparing raw output of gas to the raw output of oil. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 23 '14 at 20:24

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