How can I use the hyphen (or something else) to make this sentence less confusing:

This algorithm achieves a fraction of 0.5 of the full and instantaneous information system region.

Here we have a system for which the information is full and instantaneous. The algorithm achieves a fraction f of the region achieved by this system.

  • What is "f"?... – user3169 Mar 17 '16 at 22:54
  • Just a math symbol to represent the fraction. I edited the question and set f=0.5. – din Mar 17 '16 at 22:56
  • Trying to make sense of this. Do you mean something like "This algorithm achieves a fraction of half of the region."? Makes sense to me. The ( ) is just extra information to explain "region", right? And in your original "a fraction of a fraction"? – user3169 Mar 17 '16 at 23:20
  • Does "a fraction of 0.5" mean "less than 50%" or "less than 0.5 (what units?)"? And what do you mean by region? – Peter Mar 18 '16 at 1:01
  • I don't like "a fraction of 0.5" either. 0.5 is a fraction; it's just less clear to say "a fraction of 0.5". Just saying "This algorithm achieves half of..." would be clearer (if that's what you actually mean). – stangdon Mar 18 '16 at 3:30

The sentence is worded awkwardly. Try rephrasing the question:

The algorithm is equal to f of the region, where f = 0.5 (this is obtained by a full and instantaneous information system)

You don't need to say "a fraction of 0.5"; it is redundant because .5 (a.k.a. 1/2) is a fraction. As for the "full and instantaneous information system", I don't know the context so my placement of that may be a bit off.

  • 1
    Thank you for using formatting to show that "f" is a variable, not a typo. – whiskeychief Jul 29 '19 at 10:48

It is so unclear, what you're trying to say, that it may be worth starting again, to try to say it a different way!

The back-end 'instantaneous information system region' - what is that? Even with my background as a consultant in IT - I don't know what that means!

I am guessing that you mean 'the region throughout which we have instantaneous communication' which is still, a bit of a mouthful! Though, it sounds like a great system!

What is "the region achieved by this system" how can a region be 'achieved' by a system? It can't, in my opinion.

Are you perhaps referring to 'the area that the system manages to cover'? In which case it is really the coverage that is being 'achieved' - not 'the region'.

And if 'a fraction' is 0.5 - can we perhaps say '50 percent'? Would that be more intelligible? Or can we simply say 'half'? And as others have stated can we just assume that the audience knows what a fraction is?

By 'algorithm' do you mean the 'guiding principle' or 'underlying systems code' of the system, or something?

I really don't know quite what you are trying to say but here's a guess, how about:

Our rapid system algorithm enables us to reach 50 percent of the entire region, in just a nanosecond. (Sorry I added the time element).

Or: we can cover half of our global network in a only a moment, using our rapid system algorithm.

Although I am left wondering about... the other half! What is that 0.5, actually?

Or, does the 0.5 represent 'time'?

In which case, could it be something like 'we are able to communicate data throughout our entire global network in less than half a second, ensuring up-to-date information almost instantaneously for all our global users'.


"A fraction of .05" is unclear. "Less than 5%", if that works, is more obvious. Avoid referencing fractional values that are undefined, if a simpler statement works; it's an unnecessary cognitive burden on the reader.

The word "instantaneous" is best avoided for clear communication. So unless "full and instantaneous information system region" is a known technical term with rigidly defined meaning that all your readers already understand, you should avoid that phrase. It can mean entirely different things to different people.

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