What Does Ratio Mean?

James Pithering
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Ratio is a very helpful tool that allows you to compare things to one another. It is very commonly used in Mathematics. Ratios are also used in the real world, and they are a very helpful function.

What Does Ratio Mean?

This article will explore what a ratio is and how they work. It will also explore how you can calculate ratios yourself. 

What Is A Ratio?

It is likely that the first time  that you will experience a ratio will be in your mathematics class. It is when you compare two or more numbers.

The comparison indicates these two sizes in relation to each other. A ratio compares two numbers by dividing one number, named the antecedent, with another number, named the consequent. 

For instance, if you have a group of 40 people, and 26 of these people have voted for chocolate over sweets then the ratio of chocolate to sweets is 26:14.

This is because the remaining 14 people prefer sweets. You can then divide this ratio by 2 to get 13:7. Once you have an odd number, you can’t change the ratio any further. The ratio of 13:7 is the same as the ratio of 26:14. 

Ratios are used everyday, especially in things like betting. They are also used in statistics very often.

Ratios In Everyday Life 

As we mentioned, ratios are taught in mathematics from a very young age. They occur in everyday life very often.

Ratios help to put numbers into perspective, making them much easier to understand. This is why they are often used when looking at statistics. 

Examples Of Ratios 

When you participate in the lottery, your odds of winning are often given in the form of a ratio. If you buy one lottery ticket, you may have a 1 in 28,000,000 chance of winning the lottery.

This means that 1 ticket in the 28,000,000 is the winning ticket. 

You may also look at the ratio in terms of female to male population. If a class of children has 10 boys and 15 girls, the ratio of boys to girls is 10:15.

Writing A Ratio

There are lots of different ways to write a ratio down on the page. The most common way is by using a colon to compare the two. The ratio of boys to girls in the glass is a good example of this. 

You can also write a ratio down as a fraction. This is because ratios are simply division problems and so a fraction will also make sense to understand it. 

Some people find ratios a lot easier to understand if they are written in words. For example, if there were 15 children and 30 cookies, instead of writing 1:2, you could say that there are 2 cookies per child.

If you are studying ratios in mathematics, the colon method of writing a ratio is much preferred. 

How To Calculate A Ratio?

If you are looking for the ratio of two numbers, you should follow the steps below in order to calculate it. 

  1. Find the qualities that determine the ratio. These are the two numbers that make up the ratio that you are looking at. 
  2. Next, you should write this ratio in the form of a fraction. 
  3. Then you should simplify the fraction as far as you can, if it is possible. See which number will divide into both of the numbers on the ratio. 
  4. This will give you the final ratio.

Simplifying The Ratio

Simplifying The Ratio

You will need to make sure that you simplify any ratio down to the smallest possible numbers. They must be whole numbers, but they should be the smallest possible whole numbers.

This is fairly simple to do. All you need to do is figure out which number both of the numbers in the ratio can be divided into.

For instance, if you are working with the boy:girl ratio 10:15, you can see that both the numbers 10 and 15 can be divided by 5. If you divide both numbers by 5 you will be left with 2:3. 

You can write this ratio as 2:3, ⅔ or you can write it as a sentence: there are 2 boys for every 3 girls in the class.

What Is An Equivalent Ratio?

An equivalent ratio is a ratio that holds exactly the same meaning as another. This is where the given ratio is multiplied by the same number.

For example, if we had a ratio of 2:5 then an equivalent ratio to this could be 4:10. This is the number that is obtained if we divide both the 2 and the 5 by 2. You can find an infinite number of equivalent ratios to any ratio.

What Is A Ratio Table?

A ratio table refers to a list that contains all of the equivalent ratios in one table. For instance, it will show the ratio of 1:4, and every other ratio that this could be.

On this list you will get 2:8, 3:12, 6:24 and so on. This was obtained by multiplying both numbers of the ratio by the same number. We multiplied the 1 by 2 and the 4 by 2 in order to get 2:8.

Ratios With More Than Two Quantities

You can get ratios with 3 quantities or more. For instance, if you were looking to compare the number of 3 different types of food, you will get three different numbers.

You may have three cucumbers, 5 tomatoes and 7 onions. This ratio would be 3:5:7.

Final Thoughts

Ratios are very helpful things that are used when comparing one thing to another. You will likely come across them in mathematics class initially, however you will also come across them in the real world very often.

They are a very helpful tool to help with comparisons. This article should help you to understand ratios, what they are for and how to calculate them yourself.

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