Submitted by daischi  •  May 30, 2004

Discrepancy

I want to say there is a conflict/difference between things, in this case, materials reported to be in a bottle. Would I say there is a discrepancy IN materials, a discrepancy OF materials, or a discrepancy BETWEEN materials?

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If I had to use the word "discrepancy", I would say "there was a discrepancy in the materials [reported]".

I think the word "discrepancy" doesn't fit perfectly here and might say "they disagreed on what was in the bottle" or something more like that.

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Or, alternatively (continuing with what Rich has posted), "there was a discrepancy between the reports."

Google hits:
"Discrepancy between" - 273,000
"Discrepancy in" - 158,000
"Discrepancy of" - 42,000

According to the usage I've sampled:

"Discrepancy between" seems to be used to compare two things that should be the same but are not: "There were discrepancies between the proof copy and the submitted manuscript."

"Discrepancy in" seems to be used when talking about one thing that just doesn't fit the known facts: "There were some discrepancies in the story she told the police."

"Discrepancy of" seems to be used in the special case of tolerances or variation from standard measurements: "There was a discrepancy of 4.28mm in the inside diameter of the well bore." "Discrepancies in the test results averaged .02 percent of the expected value." (The second example is a "discrepancy of" with an intervening prepositional phrase.)

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Could use a preview mode on this thing....

"...intervening prepositional phrase..." was a really stupid thing to say, sorry about that. You should still see that "discrepancy of" in that last example.

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