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  1. #1
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    Default problem with 'the'

    1. Like kings and princes who strove to create stable and effective governments, medieval religious leaders endeavored to centralize the organization and improvethe quality of the medieval church.
    2. Who was the actor who played Romeo?

    My question is: why do the word 'the' appear in the second sentence and not in the first when the two relative clauses both serve the function of narrowing down the reference of the head noun?

    In the first sentence, the relative clause 'who strove to...' helps make clear which kings and queens are meant by the speaker - i.e. those who strove to..

    In the second sentence, the relative clause also makes clear which actor does the speaker refer to.

    So, what is so different between the two?


    Also, how would these two sentence differ in meaning?

    As the new elements in medieval society, town dwelling merchants manufacturers had to struggle to obtain accpetance.
    As new elements in medieval society, town dwelling merchants manufacturers had to struggle to obtain accpetance.

    An intuitive guess: in the first sentence, the adjective 'new' serves an identifying function (the elements are the ones that are new), whereas in the second the adjective serves an describing funciton (the elements are new).

    But if so, would they differ greatly in meaning?

    Any reply would be appreciated.
    Last edited by peteryoung; 20-Aug-2005 at 07:50.

  2. #2
    Mister Micawber's Avatar
    Mister Micawber is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: problem with 'the'

    1-- The difference is that the nouns in the first sentence are plural. The article is not always necessary, and here it is optional. Why does it not read the medieval religious leaders? They too must be a limited group. The article with plural nouns seems to require real specificity: the kings and princes who are giving me a knighthood.

    2-- I see no difference-- the article is again optional. (Sorry, Peter, I cannot even agree with your intuition.)
    .

  3. #3
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    Default Re: problem with 'the'

    Thanks, Micawber!:)

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