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Thread: Use of refer to

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    #1

    Use of refer to

    Context: I try to ask a question using the word refer to but I am not sure if I use correct word if it is refer to. Refer to will mean: to denote indirectly.

    "What can an open system refer to?" I intended this sentence to mean that "what can people understand when they come up with an open system."?

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: Use of refer to

    Quote Originally Posted by hhtt21 View Post
    Context: I try have tried to ask a question using the words "refer to" but I am not sure if I have used them correctly. word if it is refer to. I want "refer to" will to mean "to denote indirectly".

    "What can an open system refer to?"

    I intended this sentence to mean that "What can people understand when they come up with an open system?"

    Thank you.
    Note my corrections above.

    I wouldn't say that "What can XXX refer to?" means "What can people understand by XXX". If something refers to something else, it means that the reader/listener is directed to consider that "something else" specifically by the use of XXX.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: Use of refer to

    We usually use refer to when talking about the relationships of words (signs) to their referents (things in the world).

    To give a rather mundane example, the phrase 'your computer screen' refers to the bright thing with words on which you are looking at right now.

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    #4

    Re: Use of refer to

    Well, then how can I ask the question: What can a open system ..."?, waiting to learn about fundamental information about open systems and especially their examples and kinds? The three dots should be a word or words.

    Thank you.

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    #5

    Re: Use of refer to

    I don't understand what you want to say. Could you elaborate on the situation?
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 01-May-2017 at 12:33. Reason: Added missing word

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    #6

    Re: Use of refer to

    If you want to know fundamental information you can say "Please tell me [all] about open systems".
    For examples and kinds, you'll have to say something like "Please give me some examples of open systems".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: Use of refer to

    There are different kinds of open systems, so your example seems too vague. You could say something like What does open system refer to in physics?

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    #8

    Re: Use of refer to

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Note my corrections above.

    I wouldn't say that "What can XXX refer to?" means "What can people understand by XXX". If something refers to something else, it means that the reader/listener is directed to consider that "something else" specifically by the use of XXX.
    I do not understand the "underlined part" especially the "something else specifically by the of XXX." Would you please re-explain it? It's like "is" is missing after "something else".

    Thank you.
    Last edited by hhtt21; 06-May-2017 at 14:24.

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    #9

    Re: Use of refer to

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I don't understand what you want to say. Could you elaborate on the situation?
    If you ask this on #4 then how can we ask or form or write down a question asking about what a open system is. In #1 I thought that we can ask such a question with this: what does an open system refer to." but it was incorrect.

    Thank you.

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    #10

    Re: Use of refer to

    I still don't understand what you're asking.

    What is an open system?
    What is meant by 'open system'?
    How is an open system defined?

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