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Rounding to the "Nearer" or "Nearest" Cent?

Date: 10/18/2004 at 14:44:26
From: Carol
Subject: rounding numbers

Would you ever say "rounded to the nearer cent" instead of "rounded 
to the nearest cent"?  In a document I'm reading, it says "The result,
rounded to the nearer cent, is the net asset value per share for that
share class."

The "result" is a specific number and therefore there would only be 
two choices for rounding to the nearest cent--up or down.  So 
grammatically, you would use the comparative form "nearer" when there 
are only two choices.  However, most examples I've found say nearest 
even when speaking about a specific number.  For example, "Round 817 
to the nearest hundredth."

Date: 10/18/2004 at 16:30:02
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: rounding numbers

Hi, Carol.

I don't think I've ever heard "rounded to the nearer" anything. 
Grammatically, "nearest" is fine, since there are infinitely many 
numbers of cents, of which you are choosing one.  True, the choice 
finally comes down to two numbers, the next one up and the next one 
down, but that's only after you've eliminated all other possibilities.  
I don't think grammar is the deciding issue here, so I would just go 
by the more common phrasing, which is certainly "nearest".  But I 
wouldn't say "nearer" is necessarily wrong; perhaps in some countries 
or businesses that is the standard way to say it.

Google shows 276 hits on "rounded to the nearer" (only 1 for "rounded 
to the nearer cent"), and 193,000 for "rounded to the nearest"; maybe 
you'd like to look through the former and see whether there is any 
pattern as to where that is used!

If you have any further questions, feel free to write back.

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum 

Date: 10/18/2004 at 16:53:27
From: Carol
Subject: Thank you (rounding numbers)

Thank you for your speedy response.  I too felt it should change to
"nearest" but I was getting bogged down in grammar.  I appreciate your
opinion and respect your ability to see that perhaps "nearer" isn't
wrong either. 

I realize my question wasn't exactly a math problem but I figured Dr. 
Math probably was more familiar with wording for rounding numbers than
other resources.  Again, thank you for your response and the Ask Dr.
Math service!



Date: 10/18/2004 at 21:02:17
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: Thank you (rounding numbers)

Hi, Carol.

Perhaps it's worth adding that one of the things I've learned as a 
Math Doctor is this non-math fact: what I consider a misspelling or a 
wrong choice of words is often really just a regional difference in 
English.  It's surprising how many such variations there are!

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum 
Associated Topics:
Elementary Definitions
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