What does the proportion 1:3 mean in the following example?

In this case the holes were filled with a mixture of cement and sand in the ratio 1:3.

  • 1
    You, yourself, have described the term "1:3" as both a "proportion" and a "ratio". So what else do you want to know?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 17:04
  • It's just that in French we don't use this kind of writing to express ratios, so I wanted to be sure of what it represents
    – FrenchMan
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 17:38
  • How would you express this in French? Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 21:01
  • 1
    Actually, after searching, I found that it is also used in French, but in rather technical contexts. We also often say, literally translated into English, "1 for 3", sometimes 1/3 but in this case it should not be mistaken with the other meaning of 1/3 = one third
    – FrenchMan
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 9:25

2 Answers 2


It means that the holes were filled with a mixture that was 1/4th cement and 3/4ths sand.

  • ok I understand
    – FrenchMan
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 17:39
  • 3
    no, it would be 1:3, but this answer is confusing because it doesn't discuss ratios, like the question asked. 1:3 here means "1 part cement for every 3 parts sand". That's 4 parts total, so the mixture would indeed be 1/4 cement and 3/4 sand.
    – user428517
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 17:42

It is a representation of a dimensionless mathematical relationship between the amounts of the two ingredients in the formula. For each single unit of cement, you are to use three units of sand.

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