
 phrontister
 Real Member
4 into 8 = 32
A salesman  with a heavy Indian (to me) accent  to whom I spoke on the phone today quoted some figures to try to convince me that I was being overcharged by the company I was with and that I should switch over to his company, and during the call he used the word 'into' like this: 4 into 8. I was carefully making notes during the call and when he gave that particular calculation I of course wrote it down as 8/4.
He continued to rattle off figures, and at one stage when he paused for breath I jumped in so that we could compare calcs to that stage. Well, it turned out that my figuring didn't agree with his, which we tracked down to our different interpretation of '4 into 8'...his being 4 'multiplied by' 8 (32), and mine being 4 'divided into' 8 (2).
I argued the point, but was told I was wrong and that I should google it...which I did immediately as I was by my computer. As luck would have it, the first google result on the page said that 'into' was Indian English for 'multiplication'. SNAP...got him! The net has a number of entries regarding that difference in interpretation.
I quickly looked up 'into' in my Oxford English Dictionary and found this in a 1993 Addition to the OED:
Used to indicate multiplication, as to multiply x into y (by considering the multiplicand replicated once for each unit of the multiplier). Obsolete.
And, also in that same 1993 Addition:
Used to indicate division (of the divisor into the dividend); also ellipt. for ‘divided into’.
The 1993 date is only the year of the OED Addition, not the date of obsolescence of the 'multiplication' meaning of 'into'.
The salesman agreed with me that 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do'. One benefit I see there is that he should then be able to make many more phone calls per day than he would have made today.
Btw, no sale: his company was dearer.
"The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do."  Ted Nelson
 bob bundy
 Moderator
Re: 4 into 8 = 32
hi phrontister,
Is this a public duty that you are performing? You keep these time wasters on the line so that they won't be bothering other more vulnerable members of the public. Well done, I'm impressed. I usually put the phone down as soon as I realise the caller is cold calling me.
Should this incorrect use of the word 'into' occur again I suggest you quote dictionary.com's meaning:
pertaining to a function or map from one set to another set, the range of which is a proper subset of the second set, as the function f, from the set of all integers into the set of all perfect squares where f ( x ) = x 2 for every integer.
The resulting confusion should keep the waster busy for a long time.
Bob
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself..........Galileo Galilei
 phrontister
 Real Member
Re: 4 into 8 = 32
Hi Bob,
That was a very unintentional public service. My answering machine usually weeds out such calls but I was tricked by the fact that my phone's Caller ID showed it was a mobile phone number that I thought I recognised, and his opening spiel sparked my interest as only just that minute I'd been thinking that the rates of the company I was with were rather high.
Thanks...I'll definitely use dictionary.com's meaning of 'into' if this occurs again! I'm as confused about it as a cold canvasser would be, and the amount of time wasted from trying to sort out the double confusion should save many lives!
Dictionary.com goes on to say this about 'info':
Origin: before 1000; Middle English, Old English
I found this post on wordreference.com (other members' comments around it are worth reading too):
Hey I'm Indian and we learn it like that at school, when we learn the tables. The way we use it, the into stands for the cross (x), so its like reading 1+2 as 1 plus 2. so 1 X 2 is read as 1 into 2 (unless of course its a cross product of vectors ).
I came across this thread as I was trying to figure why the heck we say it like that, as I used it today and confused my poor supervisor. I guessed it might be archaic English that stuck in India
There's also a good thread about it here, at usingenglish.com.
"The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do."  Ted Nelson
 Agnishom
 Real Member

Re: 4 into 8 = 32
phrontister wrote:Hey I'm Indian and we learn it like that at school, when we learn the tables. The way we use it, the into stands for the cross (x), so its like reading 1+2 as 1 plus 2. so 1 X 2 is read as 1 into 2 (unless of course its a cross product of vectors ).
I came across this thread as I was trying to figure why the heck we say it like that, as I used it today and confused my poor supervisor. I guessed it might be archaic English that stuck in India
That is very correct. I am an Indian and every single maths teacher uses into in that way.
'And fun? If maths is fun, then getting a tooth extraction is fun. A viral infection is fun. Rabies shots are fun.' 'God exists because Mathematics is consistent, and the devil exists because we cannot prove it' 'Who are you to judge everything?' Alokananda
Re: 4 into 8 = 32
the english we learn is the british one....so is it possible that british also use 'into' to indicate multiplication..?
Jake is Alice's father, Jake is the ________ of Alice's father? Why is T called island letter? think, think, think and don't get up with a solution...
 bob bundy
 Moderator
Re: 4 into 8 = 32
hi
I recognise that English is used around the world so inevitably words will get used in new ways, but this use of 'into' is not used in the UK and was completely new to me. I think it could cause a lot of confusion. I cannot find a dictionary that has this definition, nor a mathsword definition that agrees. But at least we know about it so can be on guard for any muddle.
phrontister: Would you supply the link to that OED version please?
Bob
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself..........Galileo Galilei
 phrontister
 Real Member
Re: 4 into 8 = 32
Hi Bob,
I don't have a link to the OED  I have the CD  and can't find one on the net either. This post on wordreference.com and the post after it mention the OED definition.
The two quotations in my post #1 are directly from my CD. I also have two other dictionaries (book versions), which say this about 'into' as relating to multiplication: Chambers Dictionary (which I also have on my computer as the 'Bookshelf Basics' program that came with an old version of M$ Office): multiply into (rare) to multiply (one quantity) by (another quantity) to find the product.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary (ie, MerriamWebster's): archaic BY: together with – used with multiply.
The following statement appears on languageinindia.com in the LINGUISTIC AND SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF INDIAN ENGLISH article:
For an Indian doing math, two into four means "2 x 4"
Wikipedia says here that the 'multiplication sign or times sign' (not the sign of the times )  is also known as the 'into sign'.
Down here in Aus we use 'into' for division in the way that you do in the UK, and until my conversation with that Indian salesman I'd never even heard of the longobsolete association with multiplication that apparently is still practised in India.
Last edited by phrontister (20131002 01:08:17)
"The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do."  Ted Nelson
 bob bundy
 Moderator
Re: 4 into 8 = 32
hi phrontister
Wow, that's a lot of coverage!
Everyday I learn something new. Thanks.
Bob
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself..........Galileo Galilei
Re: 4 into 8 = 32
Phronister, instead of into sign what do you used then.?
Jake is Alice's father, Jake is the ________ of Alice's father? Why is T called island letter? think, think, think and don't get up with a solution...
 Agnishom
 Real Member

Re: 4 into 8 = 32
'And fun? If maths is fun, then getting a tooth extraction is fun. A viral infection is fun. Rabies shots are fun.' 'God exists because Mathematics is consistent, and the devil exists because we cannot prove it' 'Who are you to judge everything?' Alokananda
 phrontister
 Real Member
Re: 4 into 8 = 32
Hi barbie19022002,
In India, '4 into 8' = '4 multiplied into 8' = '4 times 8' = '4 × 8' = 32. Elsewhere, '4 into 8' = '4 divided into 8' = '8 divided by 4' = '8 ÷ 4' = '8/4' = 2.
By 'elsewhere' I mean countries where the official language is English. Not that I've checked them all, mind you, but I strongly suspect that all the 'elsewhere' countries interpret 'into' the same way (ie, as in Australia, the UK and America) regarding multiplication and division, and that India may be on its own with the interpretation that is considered to be archaic/obsolete by the 'elsewhere' countries.
Last edited by phrontister (20131003 03:58:54)
"The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do."  Ted Nelson
 ShivamS
 Super Member
Re: 4 into 8 = 32
My whole family uses into to represent multiplication. Intuitively, I think of it to mean division though.
I have discovered a truly marvellous signature, which this margin is too narrow to contain. Fermat Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. Archimedes Young man, in mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them.  Neumann
