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enter image description here

As you see, it's not a strawberry, it's just a flower pot.

  1. This strawberry is fake.
  2. This strawberry isn't real.

Are these sentences correct?

I'm wondering after seeing this title on a YouTube video

Is This Food Real Or Fake?

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  • You would use 'this strawberry' about... a strawberry. A real one. You could use scare quotes, maybe. Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 11:41
  • @MichaelHarvey Then, can I just say "a strawberry is fake"?
    – user180525
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 11:43
  • It is not a strawberry. It's a vase or flower pot made to look like a strawberry. Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 11:51
  • The idea of something looking real and instead being fake is a trend, I haven't seen the video but I'm guessing that the presenters are talking about cakes looking like pieces of fruit, or other food staples etc. You have to guess if the food you are seeing is real or a just a cake i.e. "fake"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 11:51
  • 1
    The photo example is not a good one, anyone who thinks that one of the vases could be an edible strawberry needs their eyes testing. It's obvious that it's a representation of the fruit in clay/ceramic form. You could say something like: This is real but that is fake (or vice versa)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 11:54

2 Answers 2

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First of all, it's odd that the question is about the word "this." There's no reason not to use "this"; it just means "the object at hand." I would suggest that your real question is whether it's okay to call it a strawberry. And I would say that it's okay, for several reasons:

  • We often refer to representations by using the same word as the thing they represent. If we lined up several flowerpots of various designs, and said "put it in the strawberry," our meaning would be clear. Technically, we do this every time we deal with images. There is not even a flowerpot on my screen right now; rather, there is a pattern of glowing pixels that puts me in mind of a flowerpot which puts me in mind of a strawberry. This is part of the idea behind Magritte's painting La Trahison des Images, in which he puts a picture of a tobacco pipe and the caption Ceci n'est pas une pipe—"This is not a pipe"—because, well, no, it's not a pipe, it's a painting of one. And yet he calls attention to the fact that we do often talk in exactly this way.
  • I think it's also OK because the sentence "changes our perception." The representation of a strawberry is so good that at first glance I did think it was one. When we're describing a change (in this case, a change in our perception), it's okay to use a construction that describes both the "before" and "after" situation in their own terms. For instance, we might say "the caterpillar turned into a butterfly," even though, afterwards, there is no "the caterpillar" anymore. Similarly, if the heroes of Scooby-Doo reveal that the supposed ghost was really a villain in a bedsheet, they might say "The ghost was just Old Man Jenner all along!" and we wouldn't fault them for using "the ghost" when in fact there was not one. This sentence uses the language of their initial perception ("the ghost") as well as their changed perception. So I think it's okay to say "this strawberry," just as the show Is it Cake might say something like "Is this handbag actually a cake?" I would say that you could use scare quotes ("This 'strawberry' is fake") if you wish, but you don't have to.
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No, you have to use quotation marks:

This 'strawberry' is fake.

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  • That would be one way of indicating that it wasn't a real strawberry. Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 15:31