Which one is correct?

When am I supposed to use above usages in a question?

For example, let’s say you’re having some lunch with your friend when you found something like a ring in your ice cream. In this situation, I think you can ask your friend “What does this mean?” but I’m not sure—how about this instead: “What is this meaning?”


You can say

What do you mean?

to ask someone to clarify something they said. Or

What is the meaning of this?

to express outrage at someone's actions or a situation. Or

What is the mean of the data?

to ask about statistics.


For the ring-in-the-ice-cream scenario, you might ask,

What does this mean?

But really, a ring in your ice cream is so surprising you might simply ask,

What is this?

  • 1
    +1, but you could add “What could this mean?” which seems much more likely in the ring-finding scenario than “What is the mean of the data?”. – Tyler James Young Oct 13 '14 at 2:39
  • 2
    If you've gotten into a habit of finding jewellery in your ice cream, you might use option 3 to wonder about the average number of rings per bowl/scoop. – Damien H Oct 13 '14 at 2:56
  • @Photon I'm not sure about your EDIT version's answer : As your said, For the ring-in-the-ice-cream scenario, you might ask, What does this mean? But I'm still having a query . Specifically, why do I supposed to use like your example? – Carter Oct 13 '14 at 4:18
  • 1
    You would use it if you wanted to ask about (or start a discussion about) the implications of the ring in the ice cream. Is there a finger in there to go with the ring? Did someone throw away their ring after their marriage failed? ... – The Photon Oct 13 '14 at 5:07

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