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What is the area of a trapezoid?
Natural?
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Atatürk wrote:What is the area of a trapezoid?
Natural? Grammatically, I'd say, yes. But I would expect the question to be how to find the area of a trapezoid rather than what is the area?
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Many math quizzes contain exactly that question  what is the area of the trapezoid. If you can provide that answer, you certain know how to calculate the value. Sounds perfectly fine.


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How does a teacher ask the question of a student? Jack, how to find the area of a trapezoid?
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Wilmar (USA) wrote:Many math quizzes contain exactly that question  what is the area of the trapezoid. If you can provide that answer, you certain know how to calculate the value. Sounds perfectly fine. I don't mean a specific trapezoid, but the general formula. Now how would you put it, please?
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Atatürk wrote:Wilmar (USA) wrote:Many math quizzes contain exactly that question  what is the area of the trapezoid. If you can provide that answer, you certain know how to calculate the value. Sounds perfectly fine. I don't mean a specific trapezoid, but the general formula. Now how would you put it, please? "Jack, how do you find the area of a trapezoid?" "Jack, tell me how (you)(to) find the area of a trapezoid."


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It should be noted that conversational language is less formal and less pedantic than written language. Also, the language of mathematical/ engineering text (and teachers) is commonly not very refined. It puts least stress on nuances of language.
It is common to hear from a Mathematics teacher, "What is the area of a trapezoid?" This is common even if the question is generic, and not about a specific figure.
To be more correct, he can also say, "What is the formula for (finding) the area of a trapezoid?"
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Atatürk wrote:What is the area of a trapezoid?
Natural? Yes. The context obviously would be a question to a student, asking "How do you find the area of a trapezoid?"


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"What is the area of a trapezoid?" is a question which can't be answered. It's like the old joke  "How long is a piece of string?"
Trapezoids  like cubes or circles or rectangles  can come in any size. There is no "standard" size. Thus one cannot make a general assessment of the size/area of one.
It's the "a" which makes it an impossible question to answer  because that would only apply if every single trapezoid one ever came across were of the same size.
The WAY one finds the area of a trapezoid, or a circle, or a rectangle is what the questions refers to: i.e. what is the formua one uses to determine the area of these kinds of shapes.
Ruth's answer provides the form the question takes in the classroom: "How do you find the area of a trapezoid?" That is what you want to know  whether or not the students have remembered the formula.
If you are, indeed, interested only in the dimensions of one particular trapezoid in particular then you'd ask: "What is the area of THIS/THAT trapezoid?"


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