The question reads, " express each of the following quantities using significant figures to imply the stated error".

a)$2.3 \pm 0.001$

b)$1.989 \pm 0.0003$

I think the first one is 2.300 because the zero in the thousands place implies an error of $\pm 0.001$ but how do I use sig figs to imply an error of $\pm 0.0003$?


1 Answer 1


The use of significant figures always implies some error, that is not explicitly stated. It is therefore irrelevant how big this error is. I merely states that the last digit is rounded.

In the first case the quantity is given as $2.3\pm0.001$, which gives you the interval $(2.301;2.999)$, which is expressed as $2.300$ in significant figures.

The same applies to the second quantity, which is given as $1.989\pm0.0003$, which in turn gives you the interval $(1.9893;1.9887)$, which is expressed as $1.9890$.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, In addition and subtraction we have to see digits after decimal fraction not significant figures. I messed up rules. $\endgroup$
    – Freddy
    Sep 3, 2014 at 7:01

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