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  1. #1
    Quaentor is offline Newbie
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    What's a/the "bazooka"?

    E.g. :
    "I think we gonna use a bazooka."
    "What's a/the "bazooka"?"

    And do I need to put the word in quotation marks?

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    What's a/the "bazooka"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quaentor View Post
    E.g. :
    Which article to should I use for when mentioning asking about a new ly heard word?

    "I think we're gonna use a bazooka."
    "What's a/the "bazooka"?"

    And do I need to put the word in quotation marks?
    Use "a". No, you don't need to put the word in quotation marks.

    Sarah: I think we're gonna use a bazooka.
    John: What's a bazooka?

    (Note that I have left "gonna" because I'm treating it as verbatim reported speech. In normal writing, use "going to".)

    I have changed your thread title so that it is unique and relevant to this post. I have moved the question into the main body of your post.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. #3
    Quaentor is offline Newbie
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    Re: What's a/the "bazooka"?

    Thanks a lot!
    Is there a case when I should use "the" instead of "a"?

  4. #4
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: What's a/the "bazooka"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quaentor View Post
    Thanks a lot!
    Is there a case when I should use "the" instead of "a"?
    Not when you're asking what a word means. You don't use any article at all with a non-countable noun:

    A. We're going to need some caulking.
    B. What's "caulking"?

    The clue in that dialog is that some precedes a singular-form noun, unlike the following:

    A. We're going to need some drywall screws.
    B. What's a "drywall screw"?
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  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: What's a/the "bazooka"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quaentor View Post
    Is there a case when I should use "the" instead of "a"?
    There's no need to change it here simply because someone has already mentioned it. If they only have one bazooka, they would probably use the as the person listening would know that. The contexts suggests that they have more than one bazooka and are going to use one.

  6. #6
    Quaentor is offline Newbie
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    Re: What's a/the "bazooka"?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    B. What's "caulking"?
    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    B. What's a "drywall screw"?
    So it's better to use quotes? Or is it equally right?
    Could you correct me on this reply if it's incorrect grammatically?
    Last edited by Quaentor; 24-Sep-2017 at 23:04.

  7. #7
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: What's a/the "bazooka"?

    You should use quotation marks or set the text in italics if there's a risk the reader won't understand what you're asking. You usually don't have to do this when you're naming a noun, but using quotation marks is never wrong.

    Consider these examples:

    What's matter?
    What's matter?

    What's cooking?
    What's cooking?

    The expression "What's cooking?" is American slang for "What are you doing?". If you don't mark "cooking" to distinguish it from the other text, your reader won't know that you're asking about the word rather than their activities. As you can see from this example, words can have hidden meanings, so it's safer to use the quotation marks.
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