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  1. #1
    Snappy is offline Member
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    Default This is the/a book that I bought yesterday

    When I show a watch, which I bought yesterday,” to a friend of mine, I think I can say: “This is the watch that I bought yesterday.”


    An English usage reference book that I have explains “This is a book that I bought yesterday” is also possible, if the person I am talking to does not know that I bought the watch yesterday.


    This is rather an old book, and I would like to hear native speakers’ opinions about the above sentence and the following ones.


    1. A/The new TV set that I bought yesterday was broken. (Situation: I bought one TV set. Can I say either “A new...” or “The new...” ? If I say, “A new TV set...,” doesn’t the person I am talking to wonder how many TV sets I bought?)


    2. A/The box of chocolate that I bought yesterday was good. (Situation: I bought one box of chocolate. Can I use either the definite article or indefinite article before “box”?)


    3. Oh, you have a new credit card! Did you ask the credit card company for priorities/the priorities that you are entitled to? I’m sure card users will have some priorities. (Same question. Can I use either “priorities” or “the priorities”?)


    Our language (Japanese) has no concept of definite or indefinite articles. So I still have difficulty using them.


    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Snappy is offline Member
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    Default Re: This is the/a book that I bought yesterday

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    {Has to be "the priorities" - priorities is countable. What is a priority in relation to a credit card?}
    Sorry, I meant "privileges."

  3. #3
    Snappy is offline Member
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    Default Re: This is the/a book that I bought yesterday

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    2. A/The box of chocolate that I bought yesterday was good. (Situation: I bought one box of chocolate. Can I use either the definite article or indefinite article before “box”?)
    {Same reasoning as above}
    Thank you. Let me confirm one thing.

    For example, a friend of mine visited and gave me one box of chocolate. It was gift-wrapped. My family members were all out at that time. My family members return home later and ask me: "What is this?"

    In the above situation, isn't it possible to say, "This is a box of chocolate that a friend of mine gave me."? (The box is still gift-wrapped. My family members do not know what it is.)
    Or if I say, "This is a box...," do my family members think that this is one of the boxes of chocolate that my friend gave me?

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: This is the/a book that I bought yesterday

    It's OK to say 'a box' because it's the first reference to it- it wouldn't really need to be wrapped either. If you had told them about the gift on the phone before they arrived, then it would be logical to say 'the box' because they had already been informed.

  5. #5
    Snappy is offline Member
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    Default Re: This is the/a book that I bought yesterday

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It's OK to say 'a box' because it's the first reference to it- it wouldn't really need to be wrapped either. If you had told them about the gift on the phone before they arrived, then it would be logical to say 'the box' because they had already been informed.
    Are the following sentences okay?

    1. I'm using a second-hand TV set that I bought five years ago. It's still in good condition. (Do people wonder how many second-hand TV sets I bought?)

    2. Three TV sets that we bought last week at an online shopping site were of high-definition type. (Same question.)

  6. #6
    2006 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: This is the/a book that I bought yesterday

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Are the following sentences okay?

    1. I'm using a second-hand TV set that I bought five years ago. It's still in good condition.

    (Do people wonder how many second-hand TV sets I bought?) almost certainly not

    2. Three TV sets that we bought last week at an online shopping site were of high-definition type. (Same question.) They might wonder.

    But if you say 'The three TV sets we bought......', they will know you bought only three.
    2006

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