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"Quelle était l’utilisation de tel et tel bois pour les anciens ?"

Does it mean "the usage of a given type of wood" or "this and that"?

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Tel et tel ("one and another") exists but is rare.

Quelle était l’utilisation de tel et tel bois pour les anciens ?

What was such and such wood used for by the ancients?

A much more common still similar expression is tel ou tel which means "this or that", "one or another", "any (particular)", "whatever".

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The meaning is almost the same but the latter is singular while the former is plural.

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In most cases, « tel et tel » will be translated "this and that" (or "this one and that one".)

It is talking about various things that are related. So in this case it would be different types of wood. So not a tool made of bronze or a pile of rocks.

So a more explicit translation could be: "The ancients used such wood for this and such wood for that."

  • Mind you the actual exemple is a question and not a statement i.e. what was the use for the elders...?. – sinople incandescent Jun 15 at 19:16
  • Funny that I used "such and such" in my translation which is probably closer/better than "this and that" (as mentioned by the other answer, too.) – Alexis Wilke Jun 15 at 23:22
  • I'm not a native speaker of the English language but I find What was the use of such and such a wood type for the elders more idiomatic that intertwining such and such with this and that like you did and whereby either seem too much spread apart to the point of losing their integrity. But I wouldn't know for sure. – sinople incandescent Jun 15 at 23:26

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