are built from ratios. A "ratio" is just a comparison between two different things. For instance, someone can look at a group of people, count noses, and refer to the "ratio of men to women" in the group. Suppose there are thirty-five people, fifteen of whom are men. Then the ratio of men to women is 15 to 20.Notice that, in the expression "the ratio of men to women", "men" came first. This order is very important, and must be respected: whichever word came first, its number must come first. If the expression had been "the ratio of women to men", then the numbers would have been "20 to15".