I'm reading a certain set of kindergarten/lower primary maths textbooks that is written by North American authors for an Asian company.

Whenever students are asked to identify the number of rectangles in a given picture, the answer booklet gives the number of oblongs instead of the number of rectangles.

For example

[picture with 4 circles, 2 triangles, 3 square rectangles, 2 oblong rectangles for a total of 5 rectangles]

Circle ___

Triangle ___

Square ___

Rectangle ___

The answer key would give only the numbers:





So, the last line is wrong since it should be 5.

Could this happen in Cantonese? I mean, is there something specific about the translations of any of the following words 'rectangle, square, oblong, quadrilateral, quadrangle, parallelogram, trapezoid/trapezium, rhombus' that would cause such confusion? I guess the translator/s thought that when English speakers say 'rectangle', it means 'oblong in their language/dialect, but I don't see that as specifically a

By the way, are squares considered rectangles in China, Hong Kong and Macau? Apparently, these things can vary by state, curricula, culture, time, etc. Please provide a document from the education department of your government or something.


In Korea, are squares considered rectangles?

Are kindergartners supposed to be steered from squares being rectangles?

In what curricula are “rectangles” defined so as to exclude squares?

Why do we have circles for ellipses, squares for rectangles but nothing for triangles?

What are/should kids (be) taught about the colour of the sun?

Edit: 1. Is Cantonese the same as Mandarin in this regard? 2. I'm also asking about Hong Kong and Macau in addition to the parts of China outside Hong Kong and Macau

  • 1
    AFAICT, squares are considered as a type of rectangle in mainland China, during our whole education from primary to high schools.
    – halfelf
    Mar 23, 2018 at 8:17
  • @halfelf Q1 Any sources pretty please? Q2 What about kindergarten? (1. Kindergarten doesn't touch the topic 2. Kindergarten touches, and squares were rectangles. 3. Kindergarten touches, but squares WERE NOT rectangles)
    – BCLC
    Mar 23, 2018 at 8:27
  • 1
  • @TangHo 1. Is Cantonese the same as Mandarin in this regard? 2. I'm also asking about Hong Kong and Macau in addition to the parts of China outside Hong Kong and Macau
    – BCLC
    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:15
  • 1
    Cantonese and Mandarin are both Chinese dialects. What? Are you going to ask the same question for each China dialects on this list too? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_varieties_of_Chinese
    – Tang Ho
    Mar 23, 2018 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


If there is a real question here, I think it stems from your idiosyncratic usage of the words "square rectangle" and "oblong rectangle". In more common usage, as you would no doubt find in dictionaries and geometry books, your "square rectangle" is a square 正方形, and your "oblong rectangle" is a rectangle 長方形. If you are willing to accept this common usage, there is no error in the books you are referring to.

  • thanks monalisa. i used square rectangle and oblong rectangle here for emphasis. the book uses square for square rectangle, has no word for oblong rectangle and uses rectangle for inclusive rectangle. the word 長方形 excludes/includes squares? also 長方形 is cantonese only/mandarin only/cantonese and mandarin?
    – BCLC
    Mar 23, 2018 at 14:51
  • 1
    In everyday language, 長方形 does not include square; and it is true for both Cantonese and Mandarin.
    – monalisa
    Mar 24, 2018 at 0:46
  • thanks monalisa.
    – BCLC
    Apr 10, 2021 at 11:49

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