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how can you tell the face and base apart on traingular pyramid

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It would depend on the type of pyramid. 

If it was equilateral (that is, all edges were the same), it wouldn't matter - something like identifying the base of a cube.  (Trivia - this would also be called a tetrahedron)

If it was isoceles - that is, the edges of faces were the same - then I would take the base to be the one that had all three edges the same length, and the faces would be the ones with only two equal sides.