"What is a square?", my maths teacher would ask.
"A square has four equal sides at right angles and its surface area is a*a", a pupil would answer. Happy they got all the facts right.
"But what is a square? Those are just its properties."
"Errr ... a square is a ... shape? ... that has four equal sides at right angles?"
"That's right. A square is a shape, the rest are just properties."
Every single one of us got that wrong. Every single time. Didn't matter if you were a straight A pupil or barely scraping by, everyone forgot to answer the question.
The story repeated itself a year later with geometric objects.
If there's one important lesson about writing I ever learned, it's that a square is a shape.
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