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  1. #1
    LDousay Guest

    Default Usling "the" properly

    Sirs,

    Please tell me if the following sentence is properly written.

    The poems are not the translations.

    History behind this question and the sentence in context: I moderate a poetry forum in Canada. In response to an Indian professor, I asked him if the poems he had recently posted were translations. His response:

    The poems are not the translations.

    I know this is silly, but I work for a university and I've often helped international students write thesis, letters, articles, etc. I've noticed that they seem to have problems with "the" and "a". When I responded that the proper way to say the above was:

    The poems are not translations.

    The man wrote back:

    In " the translations" THE is used as a definite article referring to THE five poems I have submitted. Don't push me to the next grade out of sympathy as we the teachers often do.

    I do not want to offend this man. I feel he would be a valuable contributor to our forums, but I'm at a loss as to how to respond to him.
    Last edited by LDousay; 06-Jun-2005 at 14:46.

  2. #2
    M56 Guest

    Default Re: Usling "the" properly

    Quote Originally Posted by LDousay
    Sirs,

    Please tell me if the following sentence is properly written.

    The poems are not the translations.

    History behind this question and the sentence in context: I moderate a poetry forum in Canada. In response to an Indian professor, I asked him if the poems he had recently posted were translations. His response:

    The poems are not the translations.

    I know this is silly, but I work for a university and I've often helped international students write thesis, letters, articles, etc. I've noticed that they seem to have problems with "the" and "a". When I responded that the proper way to say the above was:

    The poems are not translations.

    The man wrote back:

    In " the translations" THE is used as a definite article referring to THE five poems I have submitted. Don't push me to the next grade out of sympathy as we the teachers often do.

    I do not want to offend this man. I feel he would be a valuable contributor to our forums, but I'm at a loss as to how to respond to him.
    I would ask him this question.

    "If the poems are not the translations, what are?"

    Similar:

    The students are not the problem.

    So what is?

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Usling "the" properly

    Indian English has some different characteristics- article use and use of progressive forms where other speakers would use a simple form, etc. His 'we the teachers' seems to confirm it. If he's got a lot of useful contributions to make, I would get him on board then worry about his articles.

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