Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    cubezero3's Avatar
    cubezero3 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    322
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default definite article

    However, as the evidence began to accumulate, experts from the Zoo felt obliged to investigate, for the descriptions given by people who claimed to have seen the puma were extraodinarily similar.

    [
    Did the writer simply follow the rule that requires people not to use the definite article in front of a common noun when it's mentioned for the first time in the context?

    If that was the case, I guess it will not be counted as ungrammatical for me to simply add a definite article in front of the word experts. The reason being that readers will know that it refers to none other than those very people working in that zoo, with or without a definite article there.

    Then, a second thought of the issue brought to me a different understanding that leads to the opposite answer.

    The definite article acts as some sort of symbol to indicate that the readers or listeners are thought to be aware of what the noun refers to. Because of this, people are allowed to break the rule aforementioned, when the noun in question is understood by most people to refer to a certain thing. People are therefore allowed to write the sun, whenever the star is mentioned.

    On the other hand, mentioning a noun, without the using of a definite article in front it, shows the readers or listeners are thought not to know or be able to work out what the noun in question exactly refers to, at the precise moment the noun in question is read or heard.

    Having said that, the usage of a definite article may not be proper in the quoted sentence. It may seem clear that people will know this concerns people who are specialists in this area and work in that zoo, to begin with. Things are quite definite in this sense. However, if a reader happens to be a journalist and want to interview the experts involved so as to finish a report, this reader will probably have a rather different opinion as to the certainty of this issue. The London Zoo is very likely a huge place and probably hires more than one animal expert. Have all the experts working there been involved in that event? If not, how many of them have been involved then? As shown in the article, these questions are not addressed. Since the definite article, if put here in front the word experts, conveys, or rather, implies that all the experts with the necessary knowledge have been involved, only when this is the case, people are able to declare that they know for sure whom the experts actually refers to. Otherwise, how on earth can the readers or listers, who are only ordinary people, get to know how many experts have been involved? They obviously can achive so, by simply reading the article from which the sentence quoted is quoted.

    The article is written from a reporter's point of view, despite the fact that it's actually not a report. In general, reporters research and interview bofore they write. Based on this, I assume that the writer omitted the definite article here on purpose. It shows he, when writing the article, didn't know himself the exact number of experts involved and considered the addition of a definite article misleading and inappropriate.

    In a nutshell, the addition of a definite article in this specific case can materially alter the original meaning. The experts of the Zoo refers to all the experts there, while at the same time, experts of the Zoo refers to an uncertain number of experts there. It can be all the experts, or just some of them.

    So here I am, stuck in the middle of this question. I would like to hear your opinions on this matter.

    Many thanks

    Richard

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is online now Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    22,656
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by cubezero3 View Post


    Did the writer simply follow the rule that requires people not to use the definite article in front of a common noun when it's mentioned for the first time in the context?

    If that was the case, I guess it will not be counted as ungrammatical for me to simply add a definite article in front of the word experts. The reason being that readers will know that it refers to none other than those very people working in that zoo, with or without a definite article there.

    Then, a second thought of the issue brought to me a different understanding that leads to the opposite answer.

    The definite article acts as some sort of symbol to indicate that the readers or listeners are thought to be aware of what the noun refers to. Because of this, people are allowed to break the rule aforementioned, when the noun in question is understood by most people to refer to a certain thing. People are therefore allowed to write the sun, whenever the star is mentioned.

    On the other hand, mentioning a noun, without the using of a definite article in front it, shows the readers or listeners are thought not to know or be able to work out what the noun in question exactly refers to, at the precise moment the noun in question is read or heard.

    Having said that, the usage of a definite article may not be proper in the quoted sentence. It may seem clear that people will know this concerns people who are specialists in this area and work in that zoo, to begin with. Things are quite definite in this sense. However, if a reader happens to be a journalist and want to interview the experts involved so as to finish a report, this reader will probably have a rather different opinion as to the certainty of this issue. The London Zoo is very likely a huge place and probably hires more than one animal expert. Have all the experts working there been involved in that event? If not, how many of them have been involved then? As shown in the article, these questions are not addressed. Since the definite article, if put here in front the word experts, conveys, or rather, implies that all the experts with the necessary knowledge have been involved, only when this is the case, people are able to declare that they know for sure whom the experts actually refers to. Otherwise, how on earth can the readers or listers, who are only ordinary people, get to know how many experts have been involved? They obviously can achive so, by simply reading the article from which the sentence quoted is quoted.

    The article is written from a reporter's point of view, despite the fact that it's actually not a report. In general, reporters research and interview bofore they write. Based on this, I assume that the writer omitted the definite article here on purpose. It shows he, when writing the article, didn't know himself the exact number of experts involved and considered the addition of a definite article misleading and inappropriate.

    In a nutshell, the addition of a definite article in this specific case can materially alter the original meaning. The experts of the Zoo refers to all the experts there, while at the same time, experts of the Zoo refers to an uncertain number of experts there. It can be all the experts, or just some of them.

    So here I am, stuck in the middle of this question. I would like to hear your opinions on this matter.

    Many thanks

    Richard
    Your text is so long that I think it might put people off, this is the essence of your question: In a nutshell, the addition of a definite article in this specific case can materially alter the original meaning. The experts of the Zoo refers to all the experts there, while at the same time, experts of the Zoo refers to an uncertain number of experts there. It can be all the experts, or just some of them.
    You have answered it yourself.

  3. #3
    cubezero3's Avatar
    cubezero3 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    322
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Your text is so long that I think it might put people off, this is the essence of your question: In a nutshell, the addition of a definite article in this specific case can materially alter the original meaning. The experts of the Zoo refers to all the experts there, while at the same time, experts of the Zoo refers to an uncertain number of experts there. It can be all the experts, or just some of them.
    You have answered it yourself.
    Thank you very much, bhaisahab.

    I also think it's very long. So much so that, after I wrote it yesterday, I thought to myself:"Oh gosh, you really are good at writing a blooy long piece out of a simple question." Next time, I will try my best to keep the size of my question more reader-friendly.

    I am an English teacher, too. Well, probably not a very good one, lol. Grammar rules are way too abstract for my students and I have to use examples to bring the gap between grammar rules and real life language closer. The last thing I want to do is to deliver the wrong message.

    My problem is that I want to have people examine the process of my analysis. Then my students would be able to follow it and do it themselves in the future.

    Best regards

    Richard

Similar Threads

  1. definite article
    By Allen165 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 21-Mar-2010, 17:01
  2. [General] The definite article
    By sevdije in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-Mar-2009, 19:01
  3. use of definite article 'the' with 'both' and 'all'
    By marenparn in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 28-Aug-2007, 12:24
  4. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-Jun-2007, 09:28
  5. zero X definite article
    By Lenka in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-Nov-2006, 20:39

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •