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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    what is this

    I want to practice using the phrase 'What is this ' with my student.

    I prepared different objects and students have to answer in English

    I have glue, a paper, french fries, and scissors

    I'm confusing about how I can make the subject agree with the compliment.

    What is this?

    It's glue/ It's a glue.
    It's paper/It's a paper
    It' french fres/It's a french fries
    It's scissors/It's a scissors. ( Is a scissors okay? 'a pair of' is too hard for the students to say)

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: what is this

    What is this?

    It's glue.
    It's a glue stick.
    It's paper.
    It's a sheet or piece of paper
    They're french fries.
    It's a picture of french fries
    It's a pair of scissors.
    Scissors.
    It's a scissors.

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    #3

    Re: what is this

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    What is this?

    It's glue.
    It's a glue stick.
    It's paper.
    It's a sheet or piece of paper
    They're french fries.
    It's a picture of french fries
    It's a pair of scissors.
    Scissors.
    It's a scissors.
    Since it is possible to answer "they're french fries" to "what is this", I wonder if it is not possible to answer "they're scissors".

    By the way in the expression "french fries" is it not necessary to capitilize the initial "f" of French - "French fries" ? Why (not) ?

  3. Soup's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: what is this

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    Since it is possible to answer "they're french fries" to "what is this", I wonder if it is not possible to answer "they're scissors".
    Better to use "There are scissors."

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    By the way in the expression "french fries" is it not necessary to capitilize the initial "f" of French - "French fries" ? Why (not) ?
    Well, the jury is still out on that one. The rule I subscribe to is as follows: do not capitalize "names of things that came from specific things but are now general types" (e.g., french fries, pasteurize, italics).

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    #5

    Re: what is this

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Better to use "There are scissors."
    But to answer the original question? It sounds strange to me.

    - What is this ?
    - There are scissors.

    Reporting again to the class Unregistered is preparing, I guess while grabbing a pair of scissors one should not ask what is this but rather what are these. However, if the speaker acts this way, it seems that he already knows the answer to his question, since he knows he is asking for the name of an object which has only a plural form.

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    #6

    Re: what is this

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I want to practice using the phrase 'What is this ' with my student.

    I prepared different objects and students have to answer in English

    I have glue, a paper, french fries, and scissors

    I'm confused about how I can make the subject agree with the compliment.

    What is this?

    It's glue/ It's a glue. It's glue. is correct.
    It's paper/It's a paper It's paper. is correct
    It' french fres/It's a french fries It's french fries. is correct.
    It's scissors/It's a scissors. This is more difficult, I would suggest "It's scissors". In Irish English they say "a scissors".( Is a scissors okay? 'a pair of' is too hard for the students to say)
    .

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    #7

    Re: what is this

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Better to use "There are scissors."

    Well, the jury is still out on that one. The rule I subscribe to is as follows: do not capitalize "names of things that came from specific things but are now general types" (e.g., french fries, pasteurize, italics).
    Particularly in math/physics generally I capitalize terms such as:
    - This set constitutes an Abelian group. (a commutative group - after Abel)
    - That is a vector from a Hilbert space. (a general/specific kind of a vector space - after Hilbert)
    - You are working with a Scharzschild metric, not an Enclidian one. (specific metrics due to Scharzschild and Euclides)

    There exist many different Abelian groups, but given the dimensionality of a finite dimensional space, only one Euclidian metric. According to your rule, would you write abelian group instead of Abelian group?

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    #8

    Re: what is this

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    Particularly in math/physics generally I capitalize terms such as:
    - This set constitutes an Abelian group. (a commutative group - after Abel)
    - That is a vector from a Hilbert space. (a general/specific kind of a vector space - after Hilbert)
    - You are working with a Scharzschild metric, not an Enclidian one. (specific metrics due to Scharzschild and Euclides)

    There exist many different Abelian groups, but given the dimensionality of a finite dimensional space, only one Euclidian metric. According to your rule, would you write abelian group instead of Abelian group?
    Firstly, it's not my rule. Secondly, math is a whole 'nother dimension. The terms you mention above are indeed capitalized. Do you know why that is?

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    #9

    Re: what is this

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Firstly, it's not my rule. Secondly, math is a whole 'nother dimension. The terms you mention above are indeed capitalized. Do you know why that is?
    Hey Soup,

    I know it is not your rule in the sense you are the one who created it, the one who owns it, or the one who will charge for copyrights for its use (lol).
    But it is your rule in the sense that you use it, and I am considering the possibility to adopt it also as mine (in this latter sense)

    I think the terms I mentioned are capitalized because all of them are names given in honour to specific people, defining terms in science after an important person who did a pioneering work on the subject. But all the time I write Abelian group I keep telling my self if it is permitted to write abelian group, since an Abelian group is such a common structure in math. So I wondered if that rule could work here. That is: "Abelian group" came from a specific "thing", that is Niels Henrik Abel - but now "Abelian group" is a general type of group.

  6. Soup's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: what is this

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    I think the terms I mentioned are capitalized because all of them are names given in honour to specific people, defining terms in science after an important person who did a pioneering work on the subject.
    You are correct of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky
    But all the time I write Abelian group I keep telling my self if it is permitted to write abelian group, since an Abelian group is such a common structure in math. So I wondered if that rule could work here. That is: "Abelian group" came from a specific "thing", that is Niels Henrik Abel - but now "Abelian group" is a general type of group.
    Consider this. In the phrase french fries, the adjective french no longer retains its orignial meaning. If my sources are correct, fries did in fact originate in France, but they are not the ones we serve and eat today, say, at Mickey D's. They have changed. They are no longer from/of France.


    Now, in the phrase Abelian group, the adjective does in fact retain its original meaning; i.e., from/of Niels Henrik Abel. That's why Abelian is capitalized.

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