4

How does one go about decribing proportions?

The blank solution was prepared by mixing an aliquot of water with 2-mercaptoethanol-containing loading buffer in the 1:1 proportion.

Or

The blank solution was prepared by mixing an aliquot of water with 2-mercaptoethanol-containing loading buffer in 1:1 proportion.

Or

The blank solution was prepared by mixing an aliquot of water with 2-mercaptoethanol-containing loading buffer in a 1:1 proportion.

Or

The blank solution was prepared by mixing an aliquot of water with 2-mercaptoethanol-containing loading buffer in the proportion of 1:1.

Or somehow else? Maybe it is "in a 1:1 ratio"?

  • The blank solution was prepared by mixing an aliquot of water with 2-mercaptoethanol-containing loading buffer in a 1:1 ratio. – gattsbr Jul 11 '16 at 19:03
  • I much prefer "equal proportions" when talking about a 1:1 mixture as Khan mentioned in their answer. 'The blank solution was prepared by mixing an aliquot of water with 2-mercaptoethanol-containing loading buffer in equal proportions.' – ColleenV Jul 11 '16 at 22:43
  • @ColleenV - Me too, but I asked just in case I come across a similar construction with other values. – CowperKettle Jul 12 '16 at 0:52
3

The Oxford Dictionary says:

The basic ingredients are limestone and clay in the proportion 2:1.

In the proportion of 1:1, though not used commonly, is correct grammatically. You can also say in equal proportions, in the 1:1 proportion, or in the proportion 1:1.

I think in the 1:1 proportion and in equal proportions sound more idiomatic.

2

The blank solution was prepared by mixing an aliquot of water with 2-mercaptoethanol-containing loading buffer in a 1:1 proportion.

is how you should say it.

The 1:1 proportion implies that you only have a single "1:1 proportion" to assign to things. If more than one thing can be "1:1 proportion" then say "a 1:1 proportion."

You probably don't technically need the article there but I would include it to make it easier to read.

"A proportion of 1:1" is not incorrect, but a little wordy. However it does put emphasis on the value of the proportion, so if you mean "A proportion of 1:1 versus any other proportion" then saying "A proportion of 1:1" is OK.

Ratio might be more correct because a ratio is a comparison of two values whereas a proportion is a comparison of two ratios. But all values are technically ratios (e.g. 1 = 1/1, 2 = 2/1) and if the values could be fractional then proportion might be better.

  • 1
    "The 1:1 proportion implies that you only have a single "1:1 proportion" to assign to things." ---- It's so weird, from the standpoint of a person for whom English is not a native language. Thinking logically, there is only one "1:1 proportion" or "1:1 ratio". – CowperKettle Jul 11 '16 at 14:22
  • @CowperKettle The articles modify "proportion" not "1:1". So there are many (infinite) proportions; this solution is made using one of them. Thus, "a 1:1 proportion". – No More Secrets Jul 11 '16 at 17:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.