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  1. #1
    taked4700 is offline Member
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    Smile I have a/the father suffering from leukemia.

    Hi,

    When you start a conversation with uttering you have something, which article do you use, a or the?

    Example

    I have the/a father suffering from leukemia.

    I guess that everyone has only one father so that definite article should be used here.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a/the father suffering from leukemia.

    As someone already said in a similar thread (by you, I think), it would be unnatural for anyone to say "I have a father" or "I have the father". We would say "My father ..."

    My father has leukemia.
    My father is suffering from leukemia.

    It is not possible to have more than one mother or father so "My xxx" is appropriate for both. This follows for direct relatives:

    - My maternal grandmother has lupus.
    - My maternal grandfather has flu.
    - My paternal grandmother has Reynaud's disease.
    - My paternal grandfather is in very good health.
    - My daughter has tonsilitis.
    - My eldest son has asthma.

    With other relatives, we might use different constructions:

    - One of my cousins has broken her leg.
    - I have an aunt who used to live in Canada.
    - My uncle owns a boat.

    There is no "rule" for this. Even if you have ten uncles, you still might say "My uncle owns a boat" if it's really not important that the listener knows that you have more than one uncle, or which uncle it is. Be more specific only if you need to.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    taked4700 is offline Member
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    Default Re: I have a/the father suffering from leukemia.

    Do you think that "I have a father suffering from ...." is at least grammatical but "I have the father suffering from ..." is not?

    When you have a pet at home and it's the only one pet you have, do you think that "I have a pet at home that is suffering from a severe disease." is idiomatic while "I have the pet at home that is suffering from a severe disease." is not idiomatic?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by taked4700; 05-Feb-2013 at 10:00. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a/the father suffering from leukemia.

    Quote Originally Posted by taked4700 View Post
    Do you think that "I have a father suffering from ...." is at least grammatical but "I have the father suffering from ..." is not?

    When you have a pet at home and it's the only one pet you have, do you think that "I have a pet at home that is suffering from a severer disease." is idiomatic while "I have the pet at home that is suffering from a severer disease." is not idiomatic?

    Thanks in advance.
    - I have a pet who/which has a chronic illness.
    - My cat has a chronic illness.
    - My dog has liver disease.

    I'm afraid that I can't find "I have a father ..." or "I have the father ..." grammatical. It's such an unlikely utterance that there is no question of whether it's grammatical or not. It is "My father ..."

    There would be no conversation where such a statement would be logical. You aren't going to hear ...

    Person A: My father has kidney disease. Do you have a father?
    Person B: Yes. I have a father at home. He is sick too.
    Person A: What is the father's name?

    I'm sure you realise that's a conversation that will never happen. What you will hear is:

    Person A: My father has kidney disease. Is your father still alive?
    Person B: Yes, my father is alive but he is very sick too.
    Person A: I'm sorry to hear that. What is your father's name?
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #5
    taked4700 is offline Member
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    Default Re: I have a/the father suffering from leukemia.

    Thank you,Emsr2d2.

    "I have a/the friend who was suffering from leukemia."

    "I have a/the friend who won the chess tournament held in the city last month."

    I think that both articles make sense in this context.

    Am I right?

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a/the father suffering from leukemia.

    Quote Originally Posted by taked4700 View Post
    Thank you,Emsr2d2.

    "I have a/the friend who was suffering from leukemia."

    "I have a/the friend who won the chess tournament held in the city last month."

    I think that both articles make sense in this context.

    Am I right?
    No. Only "I have a friend who ..." works. The person is "one of your friends" so the indefinite article applies.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  7. #7
    taked4700 is offline Member
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    Default Re: I have a/the father suffering from leukemia.

    Thank you, Emsr2d2.

    "We have a/the mayor who is famous for banning smoking in the city."

    I think we have only one mayor in the city so that 'the mayor' would make sense here.

    Is this right?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: I have a/the father suffering from leukemia.

    Quote Originally Posted by taked4700 View Post
    Thank you, Emsr2d2.

    "We have a/the mayor who is famous for banning smoking in the city."

    I think we have only one mayor in the city so that 'the mayor' would make sense here.

    Is this right?
    No, it's not.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: I have a/the father suffering from leukemia.

    Quote Originally Posted by taked4700 View Post
    "We have a/the mayor who is famous for banning smoking in the city."

    I think we have only one mayor in the city so that 'the mayor' would make sense here.

    Is this right?
    No. You have a mayor who is famous for banning smoking in the city, not a mayor who is famous for something else, and almost certainly not the only mayor to ban smoking.

    'The' would be acceptable only if there were just one such mayor in the whole country, as in 'We have the mayor who used to jog through the streets in his underwear'.

  10. #10
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: I have a/the father suffering from leukemia.

    Quote Originally Posted by taked4700 View Post
    Thank you, Emsr2d2.

    "We have a/the mayor who is famous for banning smoking in the city."

    I think we have only one mayor in the city so that 'the mayor' would make sense here.

    Is this right?
    Nope. The mayor is one of many mayors who exist in the world.

    Our mayor is famous for banning smoking in the city.
    This city has a mayor who is famous for banning smoking in the city.

    You could only say "We have the mayor who is famous for ..." if there were only one mayor in the world who was famous for it, if your listener was aware of that fact.

    We could go on like this for hours. Please tell me you're not going to just keep posting sentences with a different type of person/animal in and ask if "a/the" is appropriate. I think perhaps you need to go and do some more self-study on the subject.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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