class

At ten o'clock we were all in our classes: fifty-four of us; only fifteen or sixteen of my companions of the second class, among them. ( from HEART by Edmondo De Amicis)

What does "classes" mean in the second line? If it means a particular group of students, why is it not singular? If not, then what does it mean?

Thanks!

Original Post

Ruifeng,

You asked:

What does "classes" mean in the second line?

I'm a little confused.  In your post, "classes" only appears in the first line.  "Class", singular, appears in the second, but you don't ask about that.  Am I to understand that you understand the meaning of one but not the other?  Actually, come to think of it, they don't seem to mean the same thing at all.

In the United States, a "class" in school can mean different things.  All of the students of a certain grade level constitute a class, but a class can also mean a group of students that meets in a certain classroom on a regular basis with a certain teacher.  At my elementary school, there were four teachers for every grade level.  At the beginning of the school year, we were each assigned to a certain teacher, and for the whole year, we would spend all day in his or her (usually her) classroom five days a week and that one teacher would teach all the subjects.  In first grade, I was in Mrs Buehler's class and Kathy Willis was in Miss Thompson's class, but in third grade we were both in Mrs Wilcox's class.  In high school, things were different.  Each teacher taught only one subject, so one might have as many as eight different classes in a day.  Every fifty minutes a bell would ring signalling the end of the class period and we had five minutes to go to our next class.  Also, there might be students from different grade levels in the same class.

I imagine there are a lot of differences between elementary schools in the United States and in Italy, let alone the Italy of 136 years ago, so I'm going to have to make some educated guesses as I attempt to answer your question.  I was also put off a bit by some of the wording and punctuation.  (At first I thought this was due to a problem with the translation, but I finally realized that the author had set out to create the effect of an eleven-year-old boy writing in a diary.)

Getting to your question, the word "class" seems to have the same duality of meaning for the author (or, more probably, the translator) as it did for me.  The narrator, Enrico, is in the third class, meaning grade level, and he is assigned to Master Perboni's class, meaning classroom group.  His younger brother is apparently in the first class (grade level) and is assigned to Mistress Delcati's class (classroom group).  As it was with my school, each grade level has several classroom groups.

So the passage you cited:

At ten o'clock we were all in our classes: fifty-four of us; only fifteen or sixteen of my companions of the second class, among them.

means that there are fifty-four students at the third grade level, divided among some unknown number of classroom groups, one being Master Perboni's.  Of the fifty-four, there are only fifteen or sixteen that Enrico remembers from the second grade.  At ten o'clock, all of the students were assembled in their various classrooms.

How did I do?

DocV

PS: Thank you very much for citing your source.

Ruifeng,

That's quite a long journey, from somewhere in the second line to the first half of the first line.

When you say

I didn't realize it moved to the first after I had posted it.

do you mean exactly that (which is that even after you had posted it, you still didn't realize it had moved), or do you mean to say

I didn't realize it moved to the first until after I had posted it.

which means that you did notice, but only after you had already made your post?

The reason I'm asking this is that I want to make sure you know how to correct a mistake that you don't notice until after you've posted.  I looked through all of your posts since this past May (or at least all the ones I could find; since the format change, I no longer have the ability to do a search by member name) and it looks like you've never used this option.  But maybe that's just because you don't make many mistakes.  Still, it's good to know how to do it in case you ever need to.

DocV

I didn't realize it had moved until you mentioned that it was in the first line. Still, I would very much like to know how to correct something like that.

Maybe because I always use my mobilephone to edit text? Since we moved our base, I have never been able to find the tool bar. I don't know where to change color, I don't know how to add an underlineā€¦

 

 

Ruifeng,

The mobile phone explains a lot.  You probably have fewer characters per line because of the small screen size.  Also, I've heard of people having trouble finding the tool bar on a mobile.  Mine only works for telephone calls and telling time, so I've never encountered that problem, but I'll see if I can find someone who knows the workaround.  Do you have a computer that you can use for editing?  Because until you have access to a toolbar, there's no sense in telling you how to use it, eg, for color, underlining, etc.

Making changes to something you've already posted is different.  It has nothing to do with the toolbar, but again, since I can't bring this up on my phone, I don't know what you can or can't see.  So, if you look at a post you've already made, look at the bottom right-hand corner of the post.  Do you see the words "Take Action" in blue letters?  If so, click on it.  It should give you a pull-down menu, and the first option should be "Edit".  Click on that.  Your post should come up in an edit screen, looking just like it did before you posted it, with one difference: Instead of a button at the bottom that says "Post Now", it will say "Update Now".  Make your changes, click "Update Now", and you're done.

One thing we ask, though, is that you don't change anything that someone else has already commented on in a reply.  It makes the other person look like he's imagining things.

DocV

ruifeng posted:
Still, I would very much like to know how to correct something like that. 
Since we moved our base, I have never been able to find the tool bar. I don't know where to change color, I don't know how to add an underlineā€¦

Hi, Ruifeng,

You have shown us, with a color photo, that you have found the Edit function in the Take Action menu. By clicking on Edit, you will be able to edit a post. You will be able to edit the text of the post, and that alone, if you are using a phone.

In order to have access to the toolbar -- with its options to use bold lettering, italics, colors, and so forth -- you will need to use an actual computer. If you don't own one, perhaps there are Internet cafes in China, or public libraries.

I believe that when DocV cautioned you against changing something that someone has already commented on in a reply, he had in mind editing such things in one of your own posts. Only I have the ability to edit others' posts.

David wrote:

I believe that when DocV cautioned you against changing something that someone has already commented on in a reply, he had in mind editing such things in one of your own posts. Only I have the ability to edit others' posts.

This is correct.  Ruifeng, I apologize if my wording was misleading.

Ironically, the best illustration of the principle stems from the admonition itself!

After I made my last post, I e-mailed David to ask whether he knew of any solutions for the missing toolbar problem.  This prompted him to post to this thread, after which he sent me a return e-mail advising me of his post and discussing some related issues.  As a footnote, he let me know about a mistake I had made in my last post.  I checked, and sure enough, I had written:

One thing we ask, though, is that you don't change anything that someone else has already comment on in a reply.

It should have been:

One thing we ask, though, is that you don't change anything that someone else has already commented on in a reply.

I corrected my mistake immediately using the edit function.  It now says "commented", as it should.

The point is that if David had pointed out my mistake in his post rather than in a private e-mail, it would have been against protocol for me to correct it, because that would make it look like he was criticizing a nonexistent error.

Thank you, David, for both the clarification and the correction.

DocV

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