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Is it correct to form a question like

At what degree latitude is Earth's equator located?

Can we actually define the 'location' of equator, it being merely an imaginary line, which runs across Earth's surface? (Although, I have found many results online where such a usage is made, I am confused.) So if the question statement is incorrect, please help rephrase it.

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    The line that marks the equator is imaginary in that it's not actually painted on the planet. But the set of points on the planet that are equidistant from the poles is an actuality, so it seems a bit literal minded to object to the usage. – deadrat Sep 16 '16 at 7:19
  • @deadrat Probably you are right. Don't know why I am digging so deep into it. – dee09 Sep 16 '16 at 7:40
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    (1) 'At what latitude ...' is modelled on 'At what temperature ...'; 'At what time ...' and seems acceptable enough. 'At what degree latitude ...' is used on the internet, but is probably less idiomatic than 'At what degree of latitude ...', though still not unacceptable. // 'Be located' may be used in a broadened sense for non-physically-present concepts such as statelines and national borders {eg Wikipedia: Wagah/Wahga}.. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 16 '16 at 7:46
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    The equator is defined as latitude 0, so the question At what degree latitude is Earth's equator located? is similar to At what degree latitude is latitude 15ª located?. IMHO, you use coordinates to specify the location of other things. The coordinates themselves are not "located" anywhere. – michael.hor257k Sep 16 '16 at 12:10
  • @michael.hor257k you and me are on the same page I think, so can you help me phrase the correct question please? – dee09 Sep 16 '16 at 12:22
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Why would something being imaginary suggest it had no real location? Why can we not say that "Gotham city is in the United States", or "The Battle of Hogwarts took place in Great Britain"? they are imagined, but they are imagined as being somewhere real.

That said, the equator is not imaginary, there really is a line that can be defined as being equidistant to the two poles. That makes it real, if conceptual, and certainly less imaginary than the border between two contiguous countries, or where we say is or isn't part of any given city.

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The answer is "The equator is located at 0 degrees latitude." So I think the questions is correctly formed.

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  • But is this answer also correctly structured? What I mean is, is the use of the verb 'located' correct with reference to the equator? – dee09 Sep 16 '16 at 7:38
  • This is a distinction between living language and grammar nazi. "is located" is passive voice, but the question and its answer are grammatically correct in modern English. Plus I'm with @deadrat "so it seems a bit literal minded to object to the usage" – paulzag Sep 16 '16 at 7:49

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