My friend keeps saying that asking "What degrees is it outside?" is not correct, is she right?

closed as off-topic by Chenmunka, tchrist, Drew, Rory Alsop, Mari-Lou A Nov 13 '14 at 10:53

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  • The smallest modification to your sentence that would be regarded as standard would be What, in degrees, is it outside?. – Hugh Nov 1 '14 at 22:52
  • Hugh, you'd really need one more modification, "What temperature, in degrees, is it outside?" otherwise the sentence is still (slightly) ambiguous. – Rory Alsop Nov 12 '14 at 18:58

Yes, your friend is right. You can't say "What degrees is it outside?". What you can say is:

How many degrees is it outside?

What's the temperature outside?


No, it isn't correct to ask "What degrees is it outside?".

You have several options to find out what temperature is.

  • You know the temperature outside? (coloquial)
  • What's the temperature outside?
  • If it is very cold: "How cold is it outside?"
  • If it is very hot: "How hot is it outside?

In the last two examples, even though you're not asking what temperature is, the answer will probably be: "...somelhting around the low thirties." "around freezing" "below freezing", "in the three digits" (considering the Farenheit Scale)

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