Scientific English as a Foreign Language
Answers to Lesson of January 16, 1998
Resonant & Resonance

What's wrong with this sentence?

A. The resonance frequency of the system is 10 kHz.

Answer: "resonance" is a noun and should not modify frequency. The sentence should read:

B. The resonant frequency of the system is 10 kHz. OR C. The resonance is at 10 kHz.

"Resonant" is an adjective, and is used properly in sentence B. "Resonant" and "resonance" are frequently confused, usually as in the example A above. Also, "resonate" is a verb; "resonator" is a noun (that which has a "resonance").

Try these:

1. My car has a resonance at approximately 1 kHz.
2. Every time that the band plays a bass note, my chest resonates.
3. The resonant frequency of the buildings that fell in the recent earthquake was about 10 Hz.
4. Organ pipes are good resonators.
5. A hollow chamber or cavity chosen to permit internal resonant oscillation of electromagnetic or acoustical waves of specific frequencies is called a resonator.
6. An electronic circuit with inductance and capacitance chosen to produce a specified value of the natural frequency of the circuit is called a resonant circuit.
7. At the natural frequency, the circuit resonates.
8. Above resonance, mechanical systems respond inertially.

The chairman of AT&T
Said, "Your graduate physics degree
Is not worth a ---- penny,
Of your kind we've too many.
Perhaps you can program in C?"

-S. Langer

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Created April 30, 1998, by Nancy Burnham and Fred Hutson.