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  1. #1
    Kazuo is offline Member
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    Default no article and the definite article

    Hello!

    A. Construction of the dam is nearly complete.

    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?

    Sincerely

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: no article and the definite article

    You could add the to the first or remove it from from the second without changing much IMO.

  3. #3
    TheParser is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: no article and the definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazuo View Post
    Hello!

    A. Construction of the dam is nearly complete.

    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?

    Sincerely
    ***NOT A TEACHER***

    Kazuo, good morning.

    (1) Your very difficult question sent me to my books because I, too, wanted to know the answer.

    (2) Maybe (maybe!) your first sentence is an example of what newspaper writing has done to English.

    (3) If you get a chance, check out an "old" book titled MODERN AMERICAN USAGE by Wilson Follett.
    (4) He was very strict about using "good" English.

    (5) Here is what he said (in his article entitled "A, An, The"):

    (a) Any noun in the singular limited by a restrictive "of" phrase (usually) requires "the."

    (b) Then he gives a sentence very similar to yours that he found in a newspaper: We have been opposed to construction of Bell's Restaurant at Franklin and Columbia Streets.

    (c) Mr. Follett says that "the" is needed in front of "construction" because it is referring to a particular construction.

    (6) Therefore, Kazuo, your first sentence is very common in the media (newspapers, television, etc.), but it is probably not "perfect" English.

    I thank you for your wonderful question. I learned a lot.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: no article and the definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    You could add the to the first or remove it from from the second without changing much IMO.
    I agree. It seems to be a very simple question with a very simple answer: No.

  5. #5
    Kazuo is offline Member
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    Default Re: no article and the definite article

    Hello!
    Dear Tdol, TheParser, and Raymott

    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>
    I understand.
    (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.

    This is all at the present time, thank you.

    Sincerely

  6. #6
    TheParser is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: no article and the definite article

    Kazuo, good morning.

    (1) Thank you for your extremely kind and detailed note.

    (2) I went to Google and typed in the name of the book and the author. Several entries came up, including one from Amazon.

    (3) I thank you for having asked a question that forced me to better understand my native language.

    Have a nice day.

  7. #7
    Kazuo is offline Member
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    Default Re: no article and the definite article

    Hello!

    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.
    Please consider.

    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?

    PS

    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.

    Sincerely
    Last edited by Kazuo; 12-Mar-2010 at 21:24. Reason: addin PS

  8. #8
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: no article and the definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazuo View Post
    Hello!

    A. Construction of the dam is nearly complete.

    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?

    Sincerely
    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.

    Man bites dog.

    for 'A man bites (bit) a dog'.)

    Contrast this with the zero article of

    Construction is often a costly business.

    (not: *The construction...)

    on account of the general reference of the noun.

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