What exactly does it mean to "reduce [something] by a factor of [something] ? Clarification please?

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What exactly does it mean to "reduce [something] by a factor of [something] ? Clarification please?

Mathematics
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I apologize if it sounds like a stupid question, but it's kind of ambiguous to me.
For example, the volume of something in a container is decreasing by a factor of 1/5, and it's currently at 100, does that mean you take 1/5 and subtract it from 100? or is 1/5 the new value?
I don't know if it's because English isn't my first language or what but it's just kind of confusing, but I know it's something very simple that I should understand! lol

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well i don't know if i'll explain it right or nah that means *a number * is decreasing by same amount familiar with geometric or arithmetic sequence ?
like when you divide or multiply a number by 1/5 to get the next term hmm make sense ? :P
here is an example 4 is reduced by a factor of 2 = 4/2 you would divide each term with the same number (2)
Ohhhhhh yeah that helps, making more sense now. ^_^
aw i tried but feel free to get others point of view
Thanks, you're explanation kind of refreshed me and made me relate it to something I've learned in school lol. Thank you! :D
Like how there are like factors when you convert between units of measurements?
Also, just like there is for ex the factors of 6 (2 and 3), they are multiplied. In my question above it's just saying to multiply by 1/5 then?
well reduced mean change it to lowest term so i would divide anyways i guess i can't explain it sorry ...
tag other users :)
This is an example of sloppy language, the phrase "reduced by a factor of x" does not always mean the same thing. eg 1 (x is greater than 1) a two metre piece of string is reduced by a factor of 5 the new length is 2 [m] / 5 = 40 [cm] eg 2 (x is less than 1) a two metre piece of string is reduced by a factor of 1/5 the new length is 2 [m] / 5 = 40 [cm] These statements are not the same, but give the same result. When the wording of the question specifies the word `reduced`, our result must be less then the original, (this is how we know whether the multiply or divide).

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