Twice or Thrice

Let’s fix the following sentence together:

The first production test on the new well was 1,012 BOPD, two times more than the estimated initial production of 506 BOPD.

The first problem with it is the phrase “two times more than.” If we let initial production = x, then “two times more than x” = 2x+x, which is 3x, or in this case 1,518 BOPD. It would be better to say “two times the estimated initial production” (2x), or even more simply “twice the estimated initial production.” Two times more than the initial production would actually be thrice the production (3x). “Thrice” is considered archaic today, although it is not listed as such in the dictionary. It would be more common to say “three times the estimated initial production” if that was indeed what was meant by “two times more than….” Because we have the 506 figure there, though, we can figure out what the author meant, but what if that was not there? We would wonder: “Does he mean 2x or 3x? Twice or thrice?”

The second problem with this sentence is the verb “was.” The first production test was 1,012 BOPD. Not only is this verb a namby-pamby non-action verb, a form of the verb “to be,” the test wasn’t 1,012 BOPD; the oil produced during the test was 1,012 BOPD. The test was done to measure the oil produced, so say that. “Measure” is an active verb. Corrected sentence: The first production test on the new well measured 1,012 BOPD, twice the estimated initial production of 506 BOPD.

No matter how you say it, though, that sure is a nice surprise!

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