document vs. file vs. paper vs. folder

amiable25

Member
Korean
Hello! I am currently teaching English in Korea and I have a question.

My boss made me copy the document.

Do you think the sentence has still the same meaning if I change it to " My boss made me copy the file." "My boss made me copy the paper."and " My boss made me copy the folder" ?

Actually, It was the answer to a question of midterm, which required students to translate an equivalent Korean sentence into Englsh.

And students gave other answers with "the file" and " the paper" and " the folder".

Do you think they are possible answers instead?

Thank you so much in advance!
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    document, yes.
    file, more than one document -- two or more documents in a folder, for example.
    paper, means documents, so yes, but sounds a bit odd.
    folder, no ... sounds like you're copying a manila folder, and unless there is something written on it, you won't see much.
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    I agree with Copyright, but I'm wondering if these are all records that are "hard copies." If you are dealing with computerized (also known as "digital" or "electronic") records, I'd say that a "file" could be just one document.

    Wikipedia has some interesting information on the nature and history of recorded information on its page for document.

    I think you did a good one with the title of this thread by including all those keywords. Combined with the popularity (ranking) of pages on WRF, it's likely to do well in search returns. For that reason, I would encourage anyone who has useful information about distinctions between these terms to post it here. Issues that interest me include database systems (these include records, but are they documents?) and these "clouds" I hear about (are they just servers that contain ordinary files?). I realize this is getting far off-topic. I'm thinking I may start a thread in the Culture Café section if it's a topic worth discussing.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I must admit that I was thinking photocopier. :) If it's a digital file, then yes, a file can be just one document.

    Looking at the digital world and copying on computer:
    document, yes.
    file, yes.
    paper, no, not on computer.
    folder, yes, but you're copying the entire contents of the folder.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    All of these words have various meanings; that's the problem. You can copy something with a photocopier, or with a scanner, or within a computer, or by typing it (or, for that matter, rewriting it by hand). "Paper" could mean anything from a single piece of paper to a lengthy treatise to a newspaper. And so on, as others have suggested.
     

    -mack-

    Senior Member
    American English
    For me, like those above, it depends on if we mean on the computer or physical paper copies. On the computer you can copy a file, which can be one document — but if we're dealing with physical paper, a file is a group of documents that have been grouped in a filing system (probably in a folder).
    Paper, in my opinion, only works if we're talking about something academic like an essay or research article, or a newspaper. "My boss made me copy the paper on the effectiveness of the new treatment.":tick:

    If it's not digital and not a document that could be called a paper, document is the only appropriate term out of the ones you have put forth.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Actually, It was the answer to a question of midterm, which required students to translate an equivalent Korean sentence into Englsh.
    Doesn't this all rather depend on what the the relevant Korean word means? It seems to me that this is a translation question, not an English question. Without proper context and background it seems a bit pointless to speculate about whether this is about paper and ink or digital media and bits.
     
    Last edited:

    amiable25

    Member
    Korean
    Dear Copyright, Gramman, Parla, mack and Andygc

    Thank you all for your helpful comments! Yes, i don't think this is an English question. It was just a translation question without proper context, which has caused some problems. T T
     
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