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Thread: Me fail english, that mimposible. using The Vs. A

  1. #1
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    Default Me fail english, that mimposible. using The Vs. A

    So today my supervisor asked me to explain when to use THE vs. A (as in “this is a book i bought” or “this is the book I bought”…. apparently he didn’t like my answer of “well you just know” :P

    I tried to explain that that in the book example, by using “a” it alludes that there may have been more than one book, where as by using “the” it could mean that there was only one book and/or that this is the book which was referred to earlier in another conversation.

    But he didn’t like that either and wants me to find a English grammar rule describing the use of a and the.

    Does anyone know the rule? Or where I can find it.

    Thanks

    Nick

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    Fucking Classy lains's Avatar
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    I found these rules about the article 'the'

    We use the definite article the
    1. to refer to something or someone both speakers in a conversation know about:

    I've got two children – a boy and a girl. The boy is 7 and the girl 4.

    2. before seas, rivers, and groups of mountains or islands:

    the Atlantic the Nile the Himalayas the Philippines

    3. if there is only one of these people or things:

    the King the UN the sun the White House

    4. with superlatives:

    the tallest the fastest the most expensive the best
    Edit to add: if you want more of the same, this is where I found it http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish
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    Tell the lazy blighter to look up the 'definite article' and 'indefinite article' on google.

    Simplest explanation from wikipedia:

    Quote Originally Posted by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_(grammar)
    A definite article (English the) is used before singular and plural nouns that refer to a particular member of a group.
    The cat is on the black mat.

    An indefinite article (English a, an) is used before singular nouns that refer to any member of a group.
    A cat is a mammal.

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    Resident ewok wicket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lains
    I've got two children – a boy and a girl. The boy is 7 and the girl 4.
    Wicket pet peeve: That should read "I HAVE two children."
    (Not that I'm blaming you, Lains. I know you just got it from a website!)
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    Fucking Classy lains's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wicket
    Quote Originally Posted by lains
    I've got two children – a boy and a girl. The boy is 7 and the girl 4.
    Wicket pet peeve: That should read "I HAVE two children."
    (Not that I'm blaming you, Lains. I know you just got it from a website!)
    My pet peeve is when people say "should of" instead of "should have"

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    OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE mteacher80's Avatar
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    welli think it is more being said as should've like you've It may not be correct but i guess i am just saying this becuse i say should've (of) all the time....
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    Fucking Classy lains's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markteacher80
    welli think it is more being said as should've like you've It may not be correct but i guess i am just saying this becuse i say should've (of) all the time....
    Oh yes, Im well aware that its the mispronunciation of should've. But people actually separate it into two words, and its rips my nightie.

    And when people WRITE "should of" in a letter or email?! Well, that deserves a bullet right there.
    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."

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    Senior Member SSJup81's Avatar
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    I personally find "your welcome" just as bad.

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    I was just thinking of this today when I heard my JTE make a mistake. It goes way beyond the rules at the top here.
    We were sitting in a room across the hall from our desks, and he said, "I'm going to get the eraser."

    Now this is VERY subtle, and technically correct, but in my opinion, a native English speaker would have said "an" or "my."
    Do I know he has an eraser? Sure, I assume he does. I guess I don't know exactly which he will get, but I assume he has one.

    So, according to wikipedia, he thinks that THE eraser is a particular member of a group (of erasers? of office supplies?), whereas I think AN eraser is any member of a group? He might be stealing it from my desk? I don't know where he's getting it from? Yes, I do. I assumed it was his.

    I never realized how difficult this all was. If I'm wrong, feel free to let me know why.

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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    The definite article is also used in front of some countries - The Cook Islands for example. This varies in European languages. In German it's The Switzerland for example.
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    sorry... reviving a dead thread, but yeah, it's a tricky one. There are rules when to use one, and when to use another, but a lot if it is also just what you're used to hearing. If the teacher ever gets cross with you because you can't explain it well enough, just ask them to explain the difference between は and が

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    Reviving a dead thread to go "yeah its tricky"? Well thank fuck you did that, I don't think I could of carried on living without hearing that insightful contribution. Cheers you dozy cunt.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cb
    sorry... reviving a dead thread, but yeah, it's a tricky one. There are rules when to use one, and when to use another, but a lot if it is also just what you're used to hearing. If the teacher ever gets cross with you because you can't explain it well enough, just ask them to explain the difference between は and が
    は is like the, が is like a.

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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keekers
    Quote Originally Posted by cb
    sorry... reviving a dead thread, but yeah, it's a tricky one. There are rules when to use one, and when to use another, but a lot if it is also just what you're used to hearing. If the teacher ever gets cross with you because you can't explain it well enough, just ask them to explain the difference between は and が
    は is like the, が is like a.
    :idea:

    象「は」鼻「が」長いです。

    Yes! It all finally makes sense!
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    Senior Member Narnia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeCarter
    Reviving a dead thread to go "yeah its tricky"? Well thank fuck you did that, I don't think I could of carried on living without hearing that insightful contribution. Cheers you dozy cunt.
    :smt005
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    <3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Narniaru
    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeCarter
    Reviving a dead thread to go "yeah its tricky"? Well thank fuck you did that, I don't think I could of carried on living without hearing that insightful contribution. Cheers you dozy cunt.
    :smt005
    I'm still laughing too.
    But only becaus he wrote "could of". Fuck I hate that. Hope lains didn't see it.
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    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Since when did you have to be able to speak English to be a JET?
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    We use the definite article the
    3. if there is only one of these people or things:

    the King the UN the sun the White House
    So how do I explain why 'Space' is not 'The Space' without using the standard: "Oh, we just call it Space. We don't use the."

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    Munchkin Tamer Trenody's Avatar
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    Hey Boy George, where do you get off ridiculing another person's post as being useless? I just found this site a few days ago, and I am excited to have a source of information from people actually in the JET Program. Unfortunately, every thread I've looked at has some response from you flaming another person and using obscene language. I have yet to see you seriously answer the question originally asked in the thread. I am aghast that the administrators haven't banned you from this site yet, with the garbage you keep spewing on here. If you don't have anything useful to say yourself, please don't post. Your language is filthy and your attitude is blatantly disrespectful. If you are that miserable, go and end your life already, or do something to make it better. Don't inflict your misery on other people. :evil:

    Dragonfly: You can think of space as more of a plural word, as opposed to being the one and only. Space is everywhere, so you may refer to "the space you are occupying" to be specific, but if you are referring to space in general, it is more like you are treating "space" as a group. You can think of water being similar idea to space. "I love swimming in warm water" vs "I love swimming in the warm water of Maui". Does that help?

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