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ESL forum > Ask for help > Explaining the difference between deduction and reduction    

Explaining the difference between deduction and reduction



ballycastle1
United Kingdom

Explaining the difference between deduction and reduction
 
Hi everyone,
 
I ´m trying to explain the difference between the two words above to a student.
 
I ´ve done the deduction (thinking), to deduce, examples.
I ´ve done the deduction (take away), to deduct examples.
I ´ve done the reduction (make smaller) to reduce, examples.
 
Having looked online, some dictionaries give them as synonyms. Can anyone give me a link  to a page where, apart from the difference in preposition (deduction from/reduction in)  the difference in meaning between the last two is clearly stated (if such a one exists)? 
 
Thanks for your help.  Have a good weekend.

20 Nov 2010      



magneto
Greece

Well, I can tell you the OALD does not give them as synonyms:

Check out these links:

deduction
reduction

I think there ´s also a difference in the context within which each word is used, but I can ´t quite put my finger on it...
Where ´s Les? We need some help over here!

20 Nov 2010     



ballycastle1
United Kingdom

Thanks for looking, magneto.  I must have trawled every dictionary at this stage.  I could just settle for ´Tax is deducted from gross pay to give take-home pay ´, and say that you can ´t substitute ´reduced ´ in this sentence, and explain the different meanings, but I had hoped to find a clearly articulated difference.  I think it was Merriam-Webster that last gave me the words as synonyms.

20 Nov 2010     



kodora
Greece

I think it is clear that they are not synonyms
http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/deduction
http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/reduction

20 Nov 2010     



almaz
United Kingdom

Ballycastle,

Re MW - DEU, might you be thinking of this (page 321): ? ( deduce, deduct...."Some of the meanings, including the most common of today´s senses, were shared by both words").

20 Nov 2010     



ldthemagicman
United Kingdom

 

Explaining the difference between deduction and reduction
 

Hi everyone,

I ´m trying to explain the difference between the two words above to a student.

 

I ´ve done the deduction (thinking), to deduce, examples.

I ´ve done the deduction (take away), to deduct examples.

I ´ve done the reduction (make smaller) to reduce, examples.

 

Having looked online, some dictionaries give them as synonyms. Can anyone give me a link to a page where, apart from the difference in preposition (deduction from/reduction in), the difference in meaning between the last two is clearly stated (if such a one exists)? 

 

Hello, Ballcastle1,

And also, Magneto.

 

Ballycastle1, I take it that you want to concentrate on ‘deduction’, (‘take away’, ‘to deduct’), and ‘reduction’ (‘make smaller’, ‘to reduce’).

 

Oxford Dictionary of English, 2006

DEDUCTION noun, [mass noun]: the action of deducting or subtracting something.

n[count noun] an amount that is or may be deducted from something, especially from taxable income or tax to be paid.

DEDUCT Øverb [with object] subtract or take away (an amount or part) from a total.

 

REDUCTION noun [mass noun]: 1. The action or fact of making something smaller or less in amount, degree, or size.

n[count noun] the amount by which something is made smaller, less, or lower in price.

.... .... ....

2. n[count noun] a thing that is made or less in size or amount, in particular.

 

REDUCE Øverb [with object] make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size.

 n [no object] become smaller or less in size, amount, or degree.

.... .... ....

 

The Chambers Dictionary, 2003

DEDUCTION noun, the act of deducting; the thing or amount deducted.

DEDUCT verb transitive, to take away; to subtract; to reduce.

 

REDUCTION noun, the act of reducing or state of being reduced; diminution; lowering of price .... ....

 

REDUCE verb transitive, to make smaller or less, to lessen; .... .... verb intransitive, to become smaller or less .... ....

 

The Chambers Theaaurus, 2004

Deduction = Reduction; Reduction = Deduction.

 

At first glance I was inclined to say that the words ‘Deduction’ and ‘Reduction’ were somewhat similar, but had different properties, both as noun and verb.

 

On reflection, I am inclined to agree with those dictionaries that say that certain aspects of the words are synonymous.  If you Deduct a quantity, X, from a total, the total becomes smaller by X.  If you Reduce the total by a quantity, X, the total becomes smaller by X.  The mathematical actions are somewhat different, but the results are the same.

1)       If I have 10 apples, and I say: “Deduct 1 apple!” I am left with 9 apples.

There has been a Deduction of 1 apple.

The total number of apples is smaller by 1 apple.

2)       If I have 10 apples, and I say: “Reduce the number by 1 apple!” I am left with 9 apples.

There has been a Reduction of 1 apple.

The total number of apples is smaller by 1 apple.

 

As a counter-argument, it is possible to say: “Deduct a minus number!” and thus increase the total, but it would also be possible to say “Reduce the total by a minus quantity!” and thus increase the total, similarly.

 

In Mathematics, the process of Multiplication is simply Addition in another form: the process of Division is simply Subtraction in another form.

 

It seems to me that, in this query, the process of Deduction is simply Reduction, in another form: and the process of Reduction is simply Deduction, in another form.

 

I don’t know if you agree with my argument or not.

 

Les

20 Nov 2010     



Mariethe House
France

Les! Good Gracious me! You got me lost in the meandres of your brain! You are too clever! What ´s left for the rest of us poor humans struggling on the way to understanding ?Smile
Brilliant as usual! It kills me! off to bed!phewSleepy

20 Nov 2010     



ballycastle1
United Kingdom

Thanks very much magneto, kodora, Alex, Les and Mariethe for all your comments.  I do appreciate them.
 
I agree absolutely, Les, and that was exactly my problem.  I had explained to my student that the end result was the same but that the words were not interchangeable.  He couldn’t understand why not.  I racked my brains trying to find examples: The dress was reduced in the sale/I had some deductions from my wages this month/There’s been a reduction in crime recently etc, but I failed to explain satisfactorily enough why the words were not synonymous.  So began a trawl of the net for the precise difference between the two words but I found similarities instead.  The Cambridge Dictionary, for example, gives this definition for reduction:  when you make or when something becomes smaller in size, amount, degree, importance, etc, whereas the definition for deduction is: when an amount or a part of something is taken away from a total, or the amount that is taken away.  I then considered whether the difference was merely contextual but wasn’t entirely satisfied with this.  Should I be? More to the point, should he be?

21 Nov 2010