<multiple> <two or more>

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ume, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2011
  2. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    "Multiple" means "more than one." See multiple for the adjective.

    It doesn't necessarily mean "many."

    For example, here is a multiple-choice question:

    All Scotch whisky is made in Scotland (circle one)

    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  3. aleaf Senior Member

    He died of multiple wounds.
    You may hear sentences like that in the news. Would you take the multiple as many, or more than one?
  4. Juhasz Senior Member

    English - United States
    If someone meant "many" I would not expect them to use "multiple." The word multiple really just means more than one. The word many has a subjective connotation: I don't live in California; let's say I've been to Disneyland six times; I may consider that to be many times, because no one else who lives near me has been to Disneyland that many times. But someone who lives in California might visit Disneyland three times every year. To that Californian, I have been to Disneyland a few times not many times.

    In order to avoid this subjectivity, and the potential for misunderstanding or disagreement, you can use the word multiple. Six visits to Disneyland is indisputably multiple visits.
  5. dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    This is an example where the context affects our understanding. We believe the newswriter knows exactly how many wounds there were. We know that if it was 1 or 2 (or maybe even 3) the newswriter would write 1 or 2 instead of "multiple". That is just a style issue. That example doesn't change the general definition of "multiple" as "more than one".

    In fact, the newswriter may only know what the coroner wrote, and that coroner may follow a standard rule of writing "multiple wounds" any time it is more than one wound. So it might really be just 2 wounds, even if we assume it is more.
  6. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    The example you give, sdg, is not a "multiple-choice" question, but a "true/false" question; a multiple-choice question has more than two possible answers.
  7. srk Senior Member

    South Bend, Indiana
    English - US
    Definitions vary for "multiple." From AHD online:

    Having, relating to, or consisting of more than one individual, element, part, or other component; manifold.

    The definitions in our dictionary vary as well.
    1. having or involving more than one part, individual, etc (Collins)
    .....1. consisting of, having, or involving several or many individuals, parts, elements, relations, etc.;
    ..........manifold. (Random House)
  8. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    Yes, but there's a distinction between these two types of questions in teaching. A "Yes/No" or "True/False" question is a "closed" question, and a "multiple-choice" question sort of falls between "closed" and "open" ("Give you opinion on.."). Students often call them "multiple-guess" questions.
  9. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    Multiple gives absolutely no indication of the amount or quantity, only that the number is more than one. It is a mistake to try and attach a number to "multiple".

    Likewise "many" does not give a definite quantity/amount. Your idea of "many" is not mine: it is subjective.
  10. dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    "Multiple choice questions" usually have more than 2 answers. If you believe they always do, then they are simply a poor example of the meaning of "multiple". But I think they can have just two. For example:

    Most of the world's supply of Scotch whiskey is brewed in _____________
    a) Scotland
    b) Kentucky
  11. Linkway Senior Member

    British English
  12. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    Yes, good point, doji. (My guess is "a. Scotland", by the way; am I right?) But I still say that "True/False" questions - of which your #10 isn't one - are not "multiple choice" questions.
  13. aleaf Senior Member

    Thank you very much all!!!

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