sameeruce08 wrote:

B Distance is 3 times longer than A

Doesn't it mean total distance is 4 times

Bunuel wrote:

From Aqua-Bella island, it is possible to reach Aqua-Marine island by either ferry A or ferry B. Ferry A sails 3 hours at 7 kilometers per hour, while ferry B takes a route that is three times longer. If ferry A is slower than ferry B by 2 kilometers per hour, how many hours longer is the journey of ferry B compared with the journey of ferry A ?

A. 4

B. 7

C. 8.6

D. 9.6

E. 12.6

Source:

Economist GMAT

The source is my insertion (per the question's tag).

In other words, however good this question may be, it is not an official question.

sameeruce08 , good catch. You wrote

B's distance is 3 times longer than A's

Doesn't it mean that B's total distance is 4 times that of A's distance?

The phrases "3 times longer than" and "3 times as long as" are hotly debated.*

In this case and similar others, translate "times longer than" with the emphases on

times -- on multiplication.

Treat "3 times longer than" as a multiplicative comparison, not as an additive or linear comparison.

B's distance = 3 * A's distanceWhy?1) STANDARD PARLANCEAs

KarishmaB notes , native English speakers in standard conversation use "3 times longer than" and "3 times as long as" interchangeably.

The two phrases mean the same thing: whatever A is, multiply it by 3.

Here: (my emphasis)

**Quote:**

Strictly mathematically, three times more would mean 4x but in regular parlance, 3 times older means 3x. So usually, in questions, when people come across 'three time more', they write it as 3x. Hopefully, GMAT will word the questions in a way to avoid this contradiction.

2) STANDARD PARLANCE and INTENDED TRANSLATIONBunuel concurs

here: (my emphasis)

**Quote:**

Question from GMAT Club member: BUT how can I properly express "1.5 times slower than normal" algebraically???

Bunuel: The wording of the question is not perfect (to say the least).

"Bill drove 1.5 times slower than normal"

is intended to be translated algebraically as t(today)=1.5*t(normal), where t stands for time.

3) INTENDED TRANSLATION: ANSWERS give NO OTHER CHOICEIf B were (4 * A), then B's distance would be (4 * 21) = 84 kilometers

B's rate is 9 km/hr. B's time would be 84/9 = 12 hours

A's time is 3 hours.

Time difference between A and B would be (12 - 3) = 9 hours

No answer is "9 hours"

In other words, interpret "B is 3 times longer than A" as

B is (3 * A)

B = 3A or

B is longer than A by a factor of 3

Maybe one example will make "standard parlance" more understandable:

5 days is 5

times longer than one day.

In one day there are 24 hours. In five days there are 120 hours. 120 = (5 * 24)

The word "times" refers to multiplication.

At the same time, 5 days is also 5

times as long as one day.

I do not recall having seen an official question that presents this issue, but my recall certainly is not definitive.

Hope that information helps.

*The discussion of X is 3 times longer than Y and X is 3 times as long as Y typically follows this course:

• Interpretation #1: longer by a FACTOR

If X is 3 times longer than Y, then X is longer than Y by a factor of 3. The comparison is multiplicative

Y = 10 miles

X = (10 * [factor of] 3) = 30 miles

• Interpretation #2: longer by a DIFFERENCE

If X is 3 times longer than Y, then X is longer than Y by a difference of 3 times the length of Y. The comparison is additive.

Y = 10 miles

X = 10 + (30) = 40 miles