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    #1

    I need help with interpreting a specific sentence.

    I am not sure how to interpret the following sentence. It doesn't mean much to me although I think that I know each of the words. Please help.

    And, as Tan says, "There you are! The truth or fallacy of Pons Asinorum is submitted to the judgement of the students who will kindly pass in their examination papers to the professor."

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I need help with interpreting a specific sentence.

    He wants the students to turn in their examination papers. (Other than that, who knows?)


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    #3

    Re: I need help with interpreting a specific sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    He wants the students to turn in their examination papers. (Other than that, who knows?)

    The main sentence is about judgement.

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    #4

    Re: I need help with interpreting a specific sentence.

    "In geometry, the statement that the angles opposite the equal sides of an isosceles triangle are themselves equal is known as the pons asinorum, Latin for "bridge of donkeys".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pons_asinorum
    So, it refers to the truth or falsity of that statement, which apparently the students have been tested on.
    It's still a bizarre sentence because of lack of an understandable flow of tenses/events. And I think 'fallacy' should be 'falsity'. Generally things are true or false, not true or fallacious. If something isn't fallacious, it's sound (and valid).

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    #5

    Re: I need help with interpreting a specific sentence.

    The fragment is unclear without extra context.

    "And, as Tan says" - who is saying this? Are they quoting Tan? This is the inference from "As X says"


    The reported speech commences with an affirmation that is without much meaning "There you are!" - similar to "See?"

    The remaining speech is somewhat ungrammatical and clumsily joins two unrelated ideas. It would be clearer as:

    The truth, or fallacy, of Pons Asinorum has been submitted to the students for their judgement.
    The students must give their answers on the exam papers and give them to the professor.

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    #6

    Re: I need help with interpreting a specific sentence.

    Hi guys,

    Thank you for your responses.

    Let me offer a little more info about the quoted text.

    The text is from a book written in America in 1903. Does that make the text appear to be "bizarre" to the modern reader?

    Tan is supposed to be an author living in China 4000 years ago, according to the writer of the text that I quoted. The text is the ending paragraph of a segment called "squaring the cirle." In the segment, the writer compares Tan with Euclid and claims that, like Euclid, Tan has also offered many propositions for the student to judge. Then, the writer introduces a "squaring the cirle" method using Tan's words. Basically, it's a geometric method to figure out the area of a circle. By using the method, we can get that the area of a circle is 3/4 of the area of the square that immediately surrounds the circle. (Obviously, the method is wrong, but the writer does not point it out directly.) He concludes the segment after the introduction of the method with the text that I copied and here it is once again:

    And, as Tan says, "There you are! The truth or fallacy of Pons Asinorum is submitted to the judgement of the students who will kindly pass in their examination papers to the professor."

    Does the text make better sense to you now? If necessary, I can copy more text from the segment. Let me know.

    Thanks for your time and effort.

    Best regards,

    Max

    P.s., neither the students nor the professor have been mentioned anywhere else in the book.
    Last edited by oldbei; 10-Dec-2014 at 08:49. Reason: Adding more info.

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    #7

    Re: I need help with interpreting a specific sentence.

    Why did the writer write "as Tan says" instead of "Tan says?" By using "as Tan says", did the writer suggest that he could have used some other words to express the same meaning?

    "There you are" here means something like "now you've got it" or "now this is apparent?"
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 11-Dec-2014 at 00:58. Reason: Deleting unnecessary quote.

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    #8

    Re: I need help with interpreting a specific sentence.

    To me it is like you are taking an algebra class and the teacher says to the students: "Now you decide if this is right or wrong." (Huh?)

    Re:

    Obviously, the method is wrong, but the writer does not point it out directly.


    Who is it obvious to? (Not me, but I am no math whiz.)


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    #9

    Re: I need help with interpreting a specific sentence.

    Thanks, Tarheel.

    You mean the original text is just a fancy way to say "now you [as the reader] decide if this is right or wrong?"

    Can we interpret “students who kindly pass in their exam papers to the professor” as "good students?"

    Here is the full context of the original text.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by oldbei; 11-Dec-2014 at 19:43. Reason: Adding context

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    #10

    Re: I need help with interpreting a specific sentence.

    Well, don't expect me to understand the math. (That's Raymott's department.) However, I am now convinced that that last sentence, although it is put within quote marks, is not a quote at all. (Don't ask me why the writer did that. How would I know?)


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