There is currently a debate among my friends. It is about our final listening test. In the audio script, the content was about a Radio show and the MC said

"Welcome to the fourth episode of Getting The Message Across".

The question asked

"How many episodes have been done?" so I assumed 3 was done. But the correct answer was C. four.

I would like to hear your opinions about this as native English speakers.

Thank youenter image description here

closed as off-topic by Mari-Lou A, AndyT, Rory Alsop, Skooba, J. Taylor Dec 22 '18 at 0:35

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    The question, if one was being picky, should have asked: "How many episodes have been aired/broadcast?" Typically a production will have completed all the episodes before broadcasting the series to the general public. – Mari-Lou A Dec 19 '18 at 11:59
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    Depends on how you define "done". – Hot Licks Dec 19 '18 at 13:34
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    Here's a question then: @HuyNguyễn, did you have to answer the questions during the broadcast, or after? – microenzo Dec 19 '18 at 13:47
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    @microenzo Good point. I assumed the decision point was just after the introduction. If it was after the completion of the radio show, “4” becomes a/another valid answer. – Lawrence Dec 19 '18 at 14:33
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a question about logic, not language. The OP clearly understands the language aspects. – AndyT Dec 19 '18 at 15:22

Since this question was asked on EL&U (which assumes an audience proficient in English), this answer skips the ‘Exam English’ analysis and just deals with the core of the problem.

The real question behind the quote is what the author meant by done.

  • previously broadcast in their entirety: three. The fourth hasn’t quite started properly yet and is certainly not done in this sense.

  • recorded or completed: unknown. At the time the speaker recorded the words in the quote, three (the fourth hadn’t been completed). If the broadcast was live, it’s again three for the same reason. If the broadcast was from a recording, at least four. They could have recorded a hundred episodes and happened to be playing Episode 4.

So the answer is that it is indeterminate. All we can say without further information is that it is more than two.

  • With reference to the test: if one has to assume that the number is known, pick the scenarios associated with a fixed number. All those scenarios have three episodes. If one claims “four”, the same logic could be used to claim any higher number. I might have missed something, but I reckon the author didn’t think the question through properly. – Lawrence Dec 19 '18 at 13:55
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    Thank you for your answer. I will quote your opinion to my english teacher right away. – Huy Nguyễn Dec 19 '18 at 14:26

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