# Third versus The third

Please tell me the difference in meaning btw “the third” and “a third” in:

a. The third of 2.
b. A third of 2.
c. The third of a liter.
d. A third of a liter.

Thanks
K

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a. The third of 2. --> Makes no sense whatsoever

b. A third of 2. --> Means 2 has been divided into 3 parts and you are referring to one of the parts.

d. A third of a liter. --> similar to b.

c. The third of a liter. --> Makes sense only if which third of a liter has been previously mentioned/identified.
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Hi Yankee,

Do you think

“The third power of 2” and “the third of two” have the same meaning?

(I ask so because "Two to the third power " has the same meaning as “Two to the third”).

Thanks
K

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It’s possible that two crazy mathematicians might understand “the third of two” to mean “the third power of two” if they were in the middle of a fascinating conversation about “to the power of”. :roll: But I wouldn’t consider it to be a typical or “standard” short form. It would be too easily misunderstood.
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The third of 4” would typically be understood to mean “the third thing in a series of 4 things”.
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Hi Yankee,

Your explanation took me out of my sleep. It’s very interesting.

Khanh