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The Mean, Median and Mode are all different types of "Average".

Without qualification the word "Average" can be any of the three. This is often used deliberately where there can be a significant difference in the value of the different averages and a specific point wants to be made by the author - especially as most people think of "Average" as the "Mean average" because that is the first average that is encountered (just called the "average") and exclusively used until quite late in schooling. Most (proper) government statistics (for example census data) use the Median average.

Another misunderstanding most people have is that people see an average which they calculate as a Mean average, but then actually try to interpret it as a Median average. Usually the two are fairly close, but when the data is extremely skewed there can be a big difference which can lead to apparent nonsense which is actually true: for example it can be said that "the workers all earn below the average pay for the company" in a business where the workers are (poorly) paid (all the same) and the owner is paid many times the workers' pay (the owner is not counted among the "workers").


The median is the middle number of any given set when they are in order, least to greatest. If there is an even number of values, the median is the mean average of the middle two.

Ex. (10, 17, 20, 45, 68)

The median is 20.

In any given set, the mode is the number that appears most often. If no number appears more frequently than any other, there is no mode.

Ex. (10, 17, 20, 45, 68)

This set has no mode.

In any given set, the mean is the total of the numbers divided by how many numbers there are.

Ex. (10, 17, 20, 45, 68)

68 + 45 + 20 + 17 + 10 = 160

There are 5 numbers in this set.

160/5 = 32

The mean is 32.

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Q: What is another way to describe the mean median and mode?
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