[Grammar] functioning examples of

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Laudator

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(Text taken from Mass Effect in-game description)

"They have multiple functioning examples of all major organs, and can often survive the loss of one or two of any type."

What does "example" here mean? I checked Oxford online dictionary and there are three meanings available, but I don't think any of them fit in here...

1.A thing characteristic of its kind or illustrating a general rule
2.A written problem or exercise designed to illustrate a rule
3.A person or thing regarded in terms of their fitness to be imitated
 

emsr2d2

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Do you really think there's any chance of it being #2?
 

Laudator

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Do you really think there's any chance of it being #2?

Nope. Just listed all the entries I found from Oxford online dictionary.
 

emsr2d2

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OK, so between 1 and 3, which do you think makes most sense in context?
 

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OK, so between 1 and 3, which do you think makes most sense in context?

#1. But it uses too many fancy words and I couldn't fully understand it.
 

emsr2d2

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Do you mean that definition #1 uses fancy words? If so, I disagree. It's less complicated than the sentence you posted from the game description.
 

Laudator

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Do you mean that definition #1 uses fancy words? If so, I disagree. It's less complicated than the sentence you posted from the game description.

For me, I usually try to understand a word by replace it with it's explanation from a dictionary. In this case "They have multiple functioning things characteristic of its kind or illustrating a general rule of all major organs, and can often survive the loss of one or two of any type.", makes much less sense. Could you simply give me another word to replace "examples" with the closest meaning?
 

emsr2d2

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You can't just insert a definition in place of a single word.
 

Laudator

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It might sound a little weird but that's usually how I learn... Anyway, I found another explanation of "example" as "an instance serving for illustration; specimen" on dictionary.com, I don't even know "specimen" and "example" can be synonyms as they mean totally different, way different things in my native language. I still need some time to digest this, but at least it makes some sense now (in my native language...).
 

Charlie Bernstein

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You can't just insert a definition in place of a single word.

That way lies madness. I used to tutor nursing students. They thought they needed big words in their papers to get good grades. As a result, the papers made no sense. My advice to each of them was the same: "Throw away your thesaurus!"
 

Raymott

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"They have multiple functioning examples ..."

I think that a big clue here is what "They" refers to.
 

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That way lies madness. I used to tutor nursing students. They thought they needed big words in their papers to get good grades. As a result, the papers made no sense. My advice to each of them was the same: "Throw away your thesaurus!"

I once got a little wordy on an essay assignment, and received the following feedback:

"You're being possessed by demons of grandiloquence. I recommend an exorcism." :oops:
 
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Laudator

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"They have multiple functioning examples ..."

I think that a big clue here is what "They" refers to.

"They" refers to Krogan, lizard-like, human-sized, bipedal alien creatures in Mass Effect.

I thought I figured out the meaning by considering "exampels" as "specimens", but it still baffles me as it making less and less sense now... I know this is crazy that "examples" is such an easy word, but I just don't understand why it appears there.

I mean, when we are talking about examples, usually we are referring to something we can hold in our hands, or in a powerpoint slide show during a talk, or on a white board, right? But how can you use "example" when you are referring to a living, pumping organ that is still in your body?

"Good morning, boys and girls, today we are going to talk about organs and I have an excellent example of a heart in my body."

Isn't that a little weird, is it? Or is it not weird at all, it's just weird in my native language... According to my mindset, an example of an organ should be something hold in a jar with embalming fluid, so, adding "functioning" in front of the "examples" makes it even worse...

(Or maybe the organ can be kept functioning using high-tech machines, but it should still be outside of someone's body...)
 

emsr2d2

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"Example" can mean "specimen" but an example doesn't have to be something you can hold in your hand.

This is an example of an italicised word.
This is an example of an underlined word.

Those alien beings have their own internal organs that are examples of internal organs the world over.
 

Laudator

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"Example" can mean "specimen" but an example doesn't have to be something you can hold in your hand.

This is an example of an italicised word.
This is an example of an underlined word.

Those alien beings have their own internal organs that are examples of internal organs the world over.

I still want to say your examples can be written on a white board... But I think I get it, it's my mindset's problem.
 

emsr2d2

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And you could draw those examples of internal organs on the same whiteboard. ;-)
 

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It doesn't sound weird to me. Many people would use 'example' that way. I think you should accept it as normal for English.
"Their lungs are tokens of the type 'lung'."
"Their hearts are instantiations of the concept 'heart'."
"Their kidneys are examples of the organ 'kidney'."
etc.
 
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