# The usage of boil

I think “the temperature that water boils at” means “the temperature of the boiling point of water”.

However, what does “the temperature that you'd boil water at” mean? The subject in the attributive clause is “you”, and this causes confusion for me. I thought this is different from “the temperature that water boils at”. Well, I would boil water on fire, so I thought it means the fire’s temperature.

I agree - it doesn't make a lot of sense.

It's not unusual to say that you "cook" food at a certain temperature. All that means is that you'd set the oven or other cooking device in which you're cooking the food to that temperature. So it wouldn't be unusual at all to say "the temperature that you'd cook the chicken at" is 350 degrees.

But since water boils at one temperature, namely, 212 degrees Fahrenheit (assuming standard atmosphere), you don't really have a choice. I'm not sure what the context was in which you saw this statement, but feel free to provide it.

• Source: Hydrothermal vents are cracks in the Earth’s surface that occur, well, the ones we are talking about here are found deep at the bottom of the ocean. And these vents on the ocean floor, they release this incredibly hot water, 3 to 4 times the temperature that you’d boil water at, because this water has been heated deep within the Earth. from the TOEFL exam TPO 15 Lecture 4 Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 5:13
• What they mean by that is 212F, the temperature at which water boils at 1 atmosphere of pressure. I agree with cruthers that the expression doesn't make much sense. They might have said the usual boiling point of water. The expression 3 to 4 times the temperature isn't a very good one either, since it isn't clear whether they are talking about an absolute temperature scale (K or R) or an offset one like C or F. Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 5:39
• Indeed, it sounds like they're just trying to make it more familiar and relatable by describing it in terms of a regular action you take. Scientifically the wording doesn't make sense, but conversationally it's understandable. Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 6:00
• Agreed, and to add, people don't boil water at boiling temperature. We boil it from below boiling temperature up to boiling temperature, so it's incorrectly phrased, and has no place in a TOEFL exam.
– gotube
Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 6:03
• Yep, I agree with the comments above. Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 16:10