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Which of these two is correct? "I rounded all the numbers for my calculations" or "I rounded all numbers for my calculations".

Or is there a better way to say that I rounded the results of my calculations.

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  • Related question, Difference between 'all' and 'all the'.
    – user24743
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 13:20
  • All figures in this result have been rounded to the nearest <integer / 1000 / dollar / some kind of unit>".
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 13:20
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    I would read these as "I rounded (all the numbers for my calculations)" = all input values. "(I rounded all numbers) for my calculations" = -infinity to infinity irrespective of whether used in your calculation. "I rounded the results of my calculations" = no rounding of input, rounded the output.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 13:35
  • If I rounded the results of my calculations is what you mean, then I rounded the results of my calculations is what you should say.
    – Adam
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 22:26

3 Answers 3

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Using "the numbers," suggests that you rounded a specific set of numbers that encompasses any numbers used in your calculation.

Omitting the "the," suggests that you first rounded all numbers, into infinity (or the assumed feasible maximum/minimum necessary for the calculation) then did you calculation with whichever numbers you needed from that pre-rounded set.

Obviously omitting the "the," results in an implication that is unlikely to be true, and would actually be a pretty massive waste of effort on the part of the person performing the calculation.

If you rounded the result of the calculation, and not the numbers used to find that result, you would say something entirely different. "The result of the calculation was then rounded to the nearest hundred," would be ideal if you rounded to the nearest hundred.

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  • Omitting the 'the' sounds more like you're adopting a clipped style to me. Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 14:52
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To say that the results of your calculation were rounded

All my calculations were rounded (to the nearest 10)
All my results were rounded

without ambiguity.

In your examples

I rounded all the numbers for my calculations

can be understood to mean the inputs were rounded, not necessarily the results (even though there is an implied significance level for the result depending on the number of rounded digits)

I rounded all numbers for my calculations
all numbers for my calculations were rounded

can be understood to mean the inputs and the results were rounded.

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I believe that "I rounded all the numbers" sounds better, as in here "the numbers" seems to directly refer to "the calculations" done later. "Numbers" alone, as the people have noted above, implies the set of all numbers and does not strictly refer to what is mentioned. However I can see both as valid in everyday usage.

(Not a linguist, but I hope it helps!)

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