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# Negative Ratios

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Director
Joined: 07 Jun 2004
Posts: 583
Location: PA

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21 Jun 2011, 00:02
Can you have negative in ratios
eg : A : B = 2 : -4

can we extend this to A : B : C = 1 : -3 : - 4 is this possible

is there a rule for using negative ratios

thanks
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Joined: 16 Mar 2011
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21 Jun 2011, 00:55
Hmm interesting.. I didnt see it anywhere though.. Where did you see this?
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21 Jun 2011, 03:14
1
rxs0005 wrote:
Can you have negative in ratios
eg : A : B = 2 : -4

can we extend this to A : B : C = 1 : -3 : - 4 is this possible

is there a rule for using negative ratios

thanks

The following is what I think:

Ratios tell you how big the numbers are with respect to each other when they are both positive. They generally measure real quantities so the negatives don't arise. Let me give an example.

A owes the bank \$2 million.
B owes the bank \$1 million.

A's debt : B's debt = 2:1 which makes sense

Assuming no assets,
A's net worth : B's net worth = -2 : - 1 = 2:1 (multiplying both by -1)
Is A's net worth twice of B's net worth? Certainly not. A has more debt.

So ratios are used only when both the numbers are positive.
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Karishma
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Joined: 23 Aug 2014
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GMAT Date: 11-29-2014

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12 Nov 2014, 05:28
sorry, I dint get the conclusion of the last part.So -ve numbers' ratio does not exist?
In ' The ratio of x to y is 7/9', should I not consider x = -7 and y=-9 too ?
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12 Nov 2014, 06:48
deeuk wrote:
sorry, I dint get the conclusion of the last part.So -ve numbers' ratio does not exist?
In ' The ratio of x to y is 7/9', should I not consider x = -7 and y=-9 too ?

Technically if we are told that the ratio of x to y is 7/9, then x = - 7 and y = -9 are indeed possible values but on the GMAT, ratios always only involve positive quantities. If the question wants to allow for negative values of x and y, the word ratio would not be used in the question at all, but instead it would be said that the value of the fraction x/y is 7/9.

Hope it helps.
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Updated on: 12 Nov 2014, 10:31
Thank you sir/ma'm.. But the reason I looked up negative ratios is because of the solution to the 6th of the seven samurai questions of Fractions/Ratios/Decimals. The question goes like this
Is x < y ?
(1) The ratio of x to y is 7/9.
(2) xy>0
Thanks again

Originally posted by deeuk on 12 Nov 2014, 09:52.
Last edited by deeuk on 12 Nov 2014, 10:31, edited 1 time in total.
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12 Nov 2014, 10:00
deeuk wrote:
Thanks you sir/ma'm.. But the reason I looked up negative ratios is because of the 6th of the seven samurai questions of Fractions/Ratios/Decimals. It goes like this
Is x < y ?
(1) The ratio of x to y is 7/9.
(2) xy>0
Thanks again

The answer to this question is E (discussed here: is-x-y-127437.html) because x=7 and y=9 as well as x=-7 and y=-9 satisfy the statements.

But again, though technically, this question is OK, the GMAT still would put the first statement as "the value of x/y is 7/9".

Anyway, the takeaway is that the real question would not use the word ratio for quantities which are not positive.
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Joined: 23 Aug 2014
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GMAT Date: 11-29-2014

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12 Nov 2014, 10:38
GMAT- ratio quantities are positive, UNLESS they are expressed as a fraction. Got it.
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03 Jul 2017, 08:36
Bunuel wrote:
deeuk wrote:
Thanks you sir/ma'm.. But the reason I looked up negative ratios is because of the 6th of the seven samurai questions of Fractions/Ratios/Decimals. It goes like this
Is x < y ?
(1) The ratio of x to y is 7/9.
(2) xy>0
Thanks again

The answer to this question is E (discussed here: http://gmatclub.com/forum/is-x-y-127437.html) because x=7 and y=9 as well as x=-7 and y=-9 satisfy the statements.

But again, though technically, this question is OK, the GMAT still would put the first statement as "the value of x/y is 7/9".

Anyway, the takeaway is that the real question would not use the word ratio for quantities which are not positive.

Dear Bunuel,
In answering this question I picked up A just because of the word RATIO; in fact I supposed that as we are considering a ratio it is not possible to have a negative multiplier.
So you are basically telling me that my approach is correct and the question is a little bit flawed right?

Thanks a lot!
Re: Negative Ratios   [#permalink] 03 Jul 2017, 08:36
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