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If I said to you "What does it mean by liberty?" or "what does the text mean by liberty?" would the question be correct in structure, meaning and grammar?

I was told that "it" or "the text" cannot MEAN something, but I am still doubtful

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Both of those forms are correct, and are exactly how a native speaker would ask for clarification or further meaning on a word or topic.

  • I would add that "the text" was written or spoken by someone, so a more common variant of this might be, "What does the author mean by liberty?" or "What do they mean by liberty?" Since the question was tagged meaning-in-context (and it doesn't give much context), that is the most common context that I can think of. – mathewb Oct 18 '17 at 16:30

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