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This is a kind of silly question, but I don't know where else to ask. Suppose I wanted to say "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" but with $K(\pi,n)$ substituted for "pipe." Would the article be "un" or "une"?

In case there are additional complications in the translation: What would be the French for "This is not a $K(\pi,n)$," where "this" refers to a picture over/under/beside the text?

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What is $K(\pi,n)$ ? –  Phira Oct 23 '12 at 23:43
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Maybe it is better to say "Ceci n'est pas un espace $K(\pi,n).$ –  Andrew Oct 23 '12 at 23:49
    
@Phira: an Eilenberg-Maclane space. –  zyx Oct 23 '12 at 23:53
    
But maybe "un $K(\pi,n)$" works, suppressing "espace", which would be understood. –  Andrew Oct 23 '12 at 23:57
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You should check Serre's foundational paper on the homotopy groups of spheres! (I'd imagine it's in French?) –  Aaron Mazel-Gee Oct 24 '12 at 0:30
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2 Answers 2

Espace and K both take "un".$\quad$

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You would use the same gender that the object's name has. For example, one could say:

Ceci n'est pas un $\triangle$ beside the picture of a square, but one could say

"Voici la $\mathscr{L}(cos(t))$" besides the expression of $\cos(t)'s$ Laplace transform.

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So if I wanted to say "this is not a $K(\mathbb Z,1)$" beside a picture of a circle (which is, incidentally, a $K(\mathbb Z,1)$), would I use the gender for espace, cercle, or the letter K? (I guess in this case they are all the same, but I'd like to know how this works.) –  Charles Staats Oct 24 '12 at 0:23
    
Well, you'd be correct since it's just a picture of a $K(\mathbb{Z},1)$. –  Aaron Mazel-Gee Oct 24 '12 at 0:27
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From your comment underneath your question, you say $K(Z,1)$ is a Maclane space, so in french, Un espace de Maclane. You would say Ceci n'est pas un $K(Z,1)$ –  Jean-Sébastien Oct 24 '12 at 0:34
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