Re: Use of Articles in English

Subject: Re: Use of Articles in English
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2009 14:11:07 -0400

Janice Gelb wrote:
> Thought people might be interested in what is by far the most
> thorough explanation I've ever seen of how to use articles
> (such as "the," "a", and "an") in English:
>
> http://www.rpi.edu/dept/llc/writecenter/web/esl.html

Wow! I was aware of the issue, but have never seen it presented so
thoroughly.

Their list of articles with singular proper nouns is immensely and
understandably incomplete. Look at these two:

MIT (never The MIT)
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I am reminded that when I am speaking Spanish, my use of definite vs
indefinite articles changes somewhat, and because I'm only learning
Spanish, not studying it, I really do not understand the differences.

= = =

In a totally different framework, the article article (if I may call it
that) explains something my wife says, too.

"Hon, would you go upstairs and get the...?"

She omits the noun, apparently believing that we both know what she is
talking about, as the RPI article states:

: Definiteness
: A noun is definite if it refers to something specific that
: is known to both the writer/speaker and the reader/listener.
: (Note: You should memorize this definition!) For example,
: if Jane needs to drive somewhere, she might ask her father,
: "May I use the car?"

My wife merely carries the idea one step further. For instance, she
might have said, "... go upstairs and get the box," with the assumption
that I knew which box. (I never do, even though as a husband I am
supposed to.) Her retention of the definite article while omitting the
noun now seems to have a plausible explanation. Still, it drives me mad!
"A noun! I'm waiting for a noun!!!"

Why did I ever elect to be a writer?
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References:
Use of Articles in English: From: Janice Gelb

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