   SEARCH HOME Math Central Quandaries & Queries  Question from Kenneth: Hello: Do you know why some "as...as" phrases indicate multiplication? For example, ? is 60% as much as $\$30.$This is equivalent to 60% X$\$30$ = $\$18.$How does this make sense? I saw this example in an old textbook on business mathematics, but the author did not explain why it is equivalent to multiplication. I thank you for your reply. Kenneth, This is a good question - this sort of thing shouldn't be taken for granted! I don't consider "60% as much as" to be very elegant phrasing, but: "Sixty per cent" is short for "sixty per centum", or "sixty per hundred." This indicates a whole-number ratio of 60:100 or 3:5, which is represented by the lowest-terms fraction 3/5 and the exact decimal 0.6. "As much as" means that quantities are being compared - "much" is an adjective referring to quantity. So "60% as much as" means "for every hundred units of quantity in$\$30,$ the answer has sixty such units." So we could solve this as

"$\$30$is thirty times a hundred cents, so the answer is thirty times sixty cents" or as "$\$30$ has a hundred thirty-cent chunks, so the answer has sixty thirty-cent chunks"

or in many other ways, all giving the answer $\$18.\$

We are really dividing and multiplying here: dividing is the same as multiplying by a unit-numerator fraction of the form 1/n, and multiplying by a fraction m/n (or the equivalent decimal) carries out the multiplication and the division in one go.

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