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augustlan's avatar

Why is the letter E shunned when it comes to grades and bra sizes?

Asked by augustlan (47381points) June 13th, 2012

School grades are typically: A, B, C, D, and F. Bra cup sizes are typically: A, B, C, D, DD, DDD, G, H, etc. Triple D is sometimes referred to as F, but double D is never referred to as E. What gives? Are the two things related in some way? Why is there no ‘E’?

What did ‘E’ ever do to us, to deserve such treatment?

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19 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

My assumption would be to avoid confusion.

The letters E and F (which are normally capitalized in both the situations which you cited) are only separated by the addition of one small horizontal line and easily mistaken for each other, even by non-dyslexics.

Lightlyseared's avatar

There’s a cup size E in UK bra sizes that is one size bigger than DD.

As for grades F isn’t a grade so much as short hand for fail.

bookish1's avatar

Maybe the idea is that a grade of “E” might be mistaken for “Excellent” ?

elbanditoroso's avatar

E might be seen as “extra large”

syz's avatar

“There is an E grade in some places still

Back when all grades used the alphabetical grading system, it did go from A to E. Soon primary school started using a different system – E, S, N and U which stand for Excellent, Satisfactory, Needs improvement, and Unsatisfactory. It is likely that because E was being used in primary school, they decided not to use it in further grades to avoid confusion.”


For bras, I can’t find an answer, although I do find lots of references to the fact that some sizing systems do use an E.

Sunny2's avatar

I don’t know. I never got anywhere near the C,D,E categories to consider it. Except in Geometry 2. Never got to rest my breasts on the desk either. Maybe E has to join the number 13, which is omitted in many building levels.

rebbel's avatar

And why, if Es are shunned so easily, is it not F = mc2?

Strauss's avatar

When I was in a Catholic school, the “E” on the report card stood for Excellent (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory). When I transferred to a public school (1960) Tthe “E” on the report card was equivalent to what I see now as an “F”. (A=Excellent, B=Very Good, C=Good, D=Satisfactory, E=Unsatisfactory.

Aethelflaed's avatar

For bras… Look, let’s just stop looking for any sort of rationale for bra sizing. There is none. There’s a triple D, but no triples C, B, or A. You can get cups A-C in band sizes 32–38, but usually not in any larger band size, and a 40 band size will assume that your breasts are at least a D cup, despite cup size being relative to band size. Should you deviate outside of a 32–38 A-C, or a 40–42 D-DD, you will be forced to put extreme effort into finding a suitable bra. Far and wide, bra sellers will insist on using a tape measure to figure out your bra size, and then when it turns out bra sizes have as much variety as jean sizes, will insist that you ignore your comfort and put on that bra that the tape measure says fits you properly. Clearly, everyone in the bra business is on drugs 24/7.

DominicX's avatar

Because “F” means “fail” and “E” usually means “excellent”. And since they want the fail cutoff to be 59%, the only logical thing to do is skip E and go straight to F.

Don’t know much about bras, though :P

wundayatta's avatar

Too many pen strokes.

blueiiznh's avatar

Grade of F can easily be changes to E

ETpro's avatar

I believe when it comes to grades, @bookish1 has it right. E sometimes stands for excellent, so to avoid confusion, we skip it on the downward scale and jump to F, which is clearly short for Fail. @blueiiznh also raises an Excellent reason not to use E in grading.

In bra sizes, I have no idea why we skip, because most men would say the next step after a D cup IS EXCELLENT. :-)

augustlan's avatar

It seems there are valid reasons for not using the E in grading. The system we use has always bugged me, though, because we could just as easily use numbers as grades, or even words (Excellent, Average, Fail, etc.) Why use letters and then have to skip one? Just seems silly.

The bra thing is completely mystifying. As @Aethelflaed points out, the entire sizing system seems so damn arbitrary in the first place, and then it’s further complicated by the double and triple D nonsense. What were they thinking?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@ETpro – not me. Any bigger than the palm of my hand (I have big hands) is excessive in my opinion.

Lightlyseared's avatar

The other problem you have with any clothes sizing system is vanity sizing where they mark stuff a smaller size than its true size so when you try it on and it fits you buy it cause now you’re a size 8 instead of a 10. Although maybe with bras they do it in reverse.

augustlan's avatar

@elbanditoroso I wear an F cup, and mine are extra excellent. Hmph. ;)

ETpro's avatar

@elbanditoroso Like you, I’m not obsessed with tits. But I did have a gal in my sophomore year in high school that was already 38 D and had a tiny waist and a fabulous bubble butt, and that somehow took a shine to me. I was swept away in a blue tide of femininity. So I am not about to claim I’m immune. It’s just that, for the long haul, personality, loyalty and mutual interests matter far more than measurements.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@augustlan – are you suggesting that I come over and do some comparison shopping?

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