3

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?”

5

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.

Edit

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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