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

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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
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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?

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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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