Author: windows82

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Post time 2004-10-7 19:24:55 |Display all floors


No answer

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Post time 2004-10-8 08:12:54 |Display all floors

My answer is B. Hacker2 gets an A, for answering B.

If you look up the word "span", to measure a span you need to have two points to  be able to measure it. A "span" of something is from one location to another location. The original question does not give us two points, only that life is getting longer.

Hacker2 used a concept that is useful in understanding any sentence, which is to understand the idea behind what the sentence is trying to communicate.
The word "span" could be used to describe an increase in the length of a persons life, but now we are talking about the use of grammar construction of a sentence.  For example, we could ask someone,  "what is the average life span of  males living in Shanghai compared to males in Beijing?" . In this question, we are asking about an averaged  measured length of time between two points, when a person is born, and when they die, of all males in these two cities.

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Post time 2004-10-8 10:13:10 |Display all floors

I prefer A as the correct answer.

Span is the distance or space between 2 points; namely between birth and death.
With the standard of living improving the distance between these 2 points gets longer and longer.
That’s why today we say that the average life span is getting longer and people die at ages averaging above 60 years.

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Post time 2004-10-8 17:23:14 |Display all floors

This textbook question should be thrown out for torturing English students.

I will agree that one could use "span". However we are not asked if both answers could be used, rather we must make the best possible choice between them. It is helpful to know about common usage, and definitions. To do that, we need to understand the meaning of these two choices. Lets ask some questions.

Does "span of life " mean the same thing as "life span"?
I think most people will agree to this meaning.

Here is a series of definitions from a dictionary:
   1. The extent or measure of space between two points or extremities, as of a bridge or roof; the breadth.
   2. The distance between the tips of the wings of an airplane.
   3. The section between two intermediate supports of a bridge.
   4. Something, such as a railroad trestle or bridge, that extends from one point to another.
   5. The distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger when the hand is fully extended, formerly used as a unit of measure equal to about nine inches (23 centimeters).
   6. A period of time: a span of life.

Clearly, when one uses this term, "span of life" we mean a period of time. This is a numerical value. Every definition of the word "span" relates to a specific numeric value.
In the question we are given, it does not relate to a specific numeric value.

Now let us ask;
Does "length of life" mean the same thing as "life span"?
I think it does not. Here is an example sentence.
"His length of life, was not as long as his possible span of life."
"His length of life, was not as long as his possible life span."

Here is a series of definitions from a dictionary:
1. The state, quality, or fact of being long.
2. The measurement of the extent of something along its greatest dimension: the length of the boat.
3. A piece, often of a standard size, that is normally measured along its greatest dimension: a length of cloth.
4. A measure used as a unit to estimate distances: won the race by a length.
5. Extent or distance from beginning to end: the length of a novel; the length of a journey.
6. The amount of time between specified moments; the duration: the length of a meeting.

We can see that when we are talking about an amount of time that is not specific, the word "length" is used. If we look at all the definitions of the word "length", we can see that there are no specific numeric definitions given when compared to the definitions of the word "span". Instead, the word "length" is of relative value.

However, if we use a thesaurus, most will probably tell us that the word "span" could be used interchangeably with the word "length". We can also look at many example sentences where a person uses the words "life span", which usually will include a specific numeric value or infer a specific numeric value. Again, the original poster is asking for a choice between the two, and the reason why.
This is only my opinion. Check this with at least thirty English teachers. Then average your results.

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Post time 2004-10-8 18:45:10 |Display all floors

thank u ,everyone ,especially pokikiko ,who gave so much explanation~!

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Post time 2004-10-9 11:02:57 |Display all floors


Loo at this sentence :

"Bt 20th century medicine did little to increase the natural life-span of healthy humans."

Here "life-span" translate into Chinese is "寿命".

So ,I hesitate.

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Post time 2004-10-9 16:28:59 |Display all floors

Good try, but this one is easier.

Lets look up the two key words of this sentence, "increase" and "life-span".

Looking up in the dictionary I get two definitions for "increase".

   1. To become greater or larger.
   2. To multiply; reproduce.

As we can see, the definitions relate to mathematical type functions, which have to do with specific numeric values.

I look up "life-span" and get the following;

   1. A lifetime.
   2. The average or maximum length of time an organism, material, or object can be expected to survive or last.
   3. The period during which something is functional (as between birth and death).

These definitions tell us once again, that the use of the term "life-span" is to infer a specific numeric value.

Now lets check the thesaurus, mine does not say we can use the word "length", or "lengthen" to replace the word "increase". This makes sense, because "length" is of relational value, and "increase" is used when talking about specific numeric values, or words that infer them.
To sum up (pun intended), this sentence does appear to use the key words correctly.

To paraphrase a popular TV show, "I'm a web poster, not a translator", I can not provide an insight on the translation of "life-span" to Chinese. Perhaps some else can give us a clue as to the characters used, and their meaning, to see how well this is translated.

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