Thank you for your letters.
And I’m sorry I’m late in replying.
First let me to go into detail about the letter from TheParser.
The numbers, letters correspond to those in TheParser’s letters.
(2) <newspaper writing>
(3) <Modern American Usage by Wilson Follett>
I asked at a relatively big book store about the book, but could not find it and searched on the Internet with not much good results.
(5) Thank you for your introduction of the content covering my matter.
(a) I understand, but I suppose there might be some exceptional cases.
(b) A little surprise that the sentence Follett referred to is similar to mine.
(c) I understand.
(6) I understand.
1. About (5) (a)
As an example of “some exceptional cases”, the following words can be listed.
Care, construction, lack, loss, mastery, ownership, payment, possession, production, treatment etc…
2. About the sentences A. and B.
(1) factors which I think influence use and non-use of the definite article
a. generality vs particularity
b. vagueness vs definiteness
c. affinity vs non-affinity
d. focusing attention vs not focusing attention
e. approval vs disapproval
f. formal vs informal
g. colloquial vs literary
(e., f., g. are on my own.)
(2) interpretation (applying d.)
A. Construction of the dam is nearly complete.
A2. The construction of the dam is nearly complete.
In A. more attention is paid to the word construction, rather than the dam.
In A2. an ordinary expression following the rule (5) (a).
B. The construction of dams has changed the character of the landscape.
B2. Construction of dams has changed the character of the landscape.
In B. an ordinary expression following the rule (5) (a).
In B2. more attention is paid to the word construction, rather than dams.
3. A typical example of use and non-use of the definite article
Exchange of prisoners during a war is unusual.
(OALD Third Edition Thirteenth Impression 1980)
The exchange of prisoners during a war is unusual.
(OALD Fifth Edition 1995)
Does the change have anything to do with the things in 2. above?
I’m very sorry I forgot writing the next matter. It was an item in an American encyclopedia. I remember it explained as follows. If it is clear when something (in this case production) begins and ends, then the expression “the production of cars” is possible, otherwise it isn’t in this context. I think the expression referred to how many cars are or were produced, not the process of producing them.
Last edited by Kazuo; 12-Mar-2010 at 21:24.
Reason: addin PS
B. The construction of dams has changed the character of the landscape. (both sentences from Longman)
In A., the word construction has no articles. The process of construction has not yet finished. In B., it has the definite article. The process of construction has finished.
Does the process of construction have anything to do with using or not using the definite article?
Strictly speaking, standard usage requires the article in (A), since reference is to a specific act of construction. The reason for its omission here is one of style, specifically 'telegraphic style', employed typically by newspapers and TV/radio news, in which certain words not vital to understanding are omitted. (An extreme form of this style is found in newspaper headlines, where even indefinite articles are left out, e.g.