I see no difference.
- For Teachers
What is the difference in meaning?Anyone shivering in Adelaide this morning had good reason to do so - it was the coldest start to June on record.
[...] "I think it's the coldest start to a June that we've ever had at Kent Town," Mr Rowlands said.
I see no difference.
How abou these, from The Corpus of Contemporary American English:
The blizzard rare for a December in New York complicates the trips of Christmas travellers...
But a tall, dark police officer is about to give her a December to remember...
Last edited by nyota; 01-Jun-2011 at 11:01. Reason: 'even without...'
NOT A TEACHER
(1) What a fascinating question. I had never thought about the matter
(2) Is it just a coincidence that the headline does NOT use "a," but
in the article a gentleman is quoted as using "a"?
(3) I found a similar situation while googling. An Irish newspaper
had this headline:
WE'VE ENDURED COLDEST START TO WINTER SINCE RECORDS BEGAN
Then the story began: It has been the coldest start to a winter since
records began more than 130 years ago.
A coincidence? I think not.
(4) Before we continue, it might be helpful to remember that the
word "a" = "one."
(5) So maybe (maybe!!!) we can say that your sentence with "a" =
The coldest start to one particular June on record.
(6) What I am trying to say in my awkward manner is this:
Quite possibly the "correct" English is the use of the indefinite
article, but over the years speakers (and writers) have just dropped the
article in order to speak faster (save space in writing). So today our
ears think that "coldest start to June" is correct even though the
"correct" way should be "coldest start to a June."
(7) Take the excellent examples from Teacher Fivejedjon:
blizzzard rare for a December. (Yes, no problem if you omit "December,"
but quite possibly the "correct" sentence demands that "a.")
to give her a December to remember. (Yes, that "a" cannot be omitted, because he is giving her something specific: a December to remember, a gift of a lifetime, a kiss to end all kisses, etc.)
(8) The bottom line: When one thinks about it, it appears that
"good" grammar requires the indefinite article. But in the real world,
native speakers and space-conscious journalists have simply decided
to drop little "unimportant" words. As for me, if I ever have occasion to
write such a sentence (which I won't), I shall use "a" -- thanks to what
I learned from your thread.
P.S. Where I live, it seems that this may be the coldest start
to a spring on record.
It reminds me of the use of an indefinite article before a surname (where 'normally' you wouldn't have it), of course with a change of meaning e.g. - A Mr. Smith - would be a man called Smith, who is a stranger to the speaker, or -He was an Einstein of his time - which tells us the person in question had Einstein's characteristics.