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  1. #1
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default what's your major?

    For undergraduates here, we use MAJOR to refer to the main subject we are studying, but(1) is it OK to ask an exchange student eg from America his 'major' at my university? (2)How about postgraduates? If I want to know what subject a postgraduate is studying, can I use the word 'major'?

  2. #2
    M1na's Avatar
    M1na is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: what's your major?

    e.g not eg
    at the university

    The answer is YES. You can use the word "major".

    Major ( as a noun) can mean subject.
    Major (as a verb) can mean "to study sth as your main major at college or university"

    I majored in English .... (not I major in English ..., you can also say I want to major in English ...)

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: what's your major?

    Quote Originally Posted by M1na View Post
    e.g not eg
    It's either e.g. (two stops) or, far less commonly, eg (no stops).

  4. #4
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: what's your major?

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    For undergraduates here, we use MAJOR to refer to the main subject we are studying, but(1) is it OK to ask an exchange student eg from America his 'major' at my university? (2)How about postgraduates? If I want to know what subject a postgraduate is studying, can I use the word 'major'?
    If you are asking a student who has not graduated, you can use "major". What this means is that this person may be taking most of his/her classes in biology (this is the major field of study), and also is taking classes in French, social science, history, etc. After this person graduates, they no longer have a major as such since all of their classes are in one field of study. To the postgraduate, I would ask what is their field of study, or what field are they in.

  5. #5
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: what's your major?

    Quote Originally Posted by M1na View Post
    e.g not eg
    at the university

    The answer is YES. You can use the word "major".

    Major ( as a noun) can mean subject.
    Major (as a verb) can mean "to study sth as your main major at college or university"

    I majored in English .... (not I major in English ..., you can also say I want to major in English ...)
    First of all, thank you very much for your correction.

    But there is something I must mention. (1)Whether there should be 'dots' is simply a matter of style. In the Guardian Style Guide, there is a sentence:

    like Hong Kong and Korean names, these are in two parts with a hyphen, eg Lee Teng-hui (Lee after first mention)

    if you want to say I was wrong in using eg, then you are saying this style guide is wrong.

    (2)In my signature, I use 'at university', because I am saying the things that I do ie studying, but not the actual place, and if you add THE, that is wrong. AT UNIVERSITY is absolutely correct.

    Of course, I have come here to learn English, and if anyone thinks I am wrong, he is most welcome to point out my fault.

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: what's your major?

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    First of all, thank you very much for your correction.

    But there is something I must mention. (1)Whether there should be 'dots' is simply a matter of style. In the Guardian Style Guide, there is a sentence:

    like Hong Kong and Korean names, these are in two parts with a hyphen, eg Lee Teng-hui (Lee after first mention)

    if you want to say I was wrong in using eg, then you are saying this style guide is wrong.

    (2)In my signature, I use 'at university', because I am saying the things that I do ie studying, but not the actual place, and if you add THE, that is wrong. AT UNIVERSITY is absolutely correct.

    Of course, I have come here to learn English, and if anyone thinks I am wrong, he is most welcome to point out my fault.
    I think the correction about using "the university" did not refer to your signature line, but to the part where you said "ask an exchange student from America his major at my university". I assume you meant that the American person is attending the same university as you. I suppose some people might say that "my university" sounds like you own the university. My personal feeling is that it sounded OK.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: what's your major?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I suppose some people might say that "my university" sounds like you own the university. My personal feeling is that it sounded OK.
    Mine too.

  8. #8
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: what's your major?

    Thank you very much.

    A long time ago when I was learning English, I thought about this question, because in both Ancient Chinese and Modern Chinese, we hardly use such a sentence structure. But later when I knew so many native English speakers would say 'my school', I thought it acceptable to say 'my university', because the meaning is clear: the university I am at, but not the university I own.

    This discussion reminds me of something. Hermann A. Schumacher was once a professor of political science at Columbia, and in Addresses in Memory of Carl Schurz there is a speech by Hermann A. Schumacher:

    An especially interesting illustration of his great captivating influence was once told to me by the curator of my university

    If he had owned a university, which is so great an achievement, his biography on the Internet would show this; but I couldn't find anything.

    In Chariots of Fire, the winner of four Academy Awards including best picture, there is a famous line:

    I am a Cambridge man, first and last. I am an Englishman, first and last. What I have achieved – what I intend to achieve – is for my family, my university, and my country.
    Last edited by nelson13; 04-Nov-2012 at 23:48.

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