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  1. #1
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Default definite article: the

    We use "the" in the following sentences:

    1. What's the matter?
    2. What's the purpose of your visit?

    When I went to the following website, it seems that I couldn't find the rule apply to the above sentences.

    English Grammar | LearnEnglish | British Council | definite article: the

    Could anybody help, please?

  2. #2
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: definite article: the

    There is only one of these things.

    The 'matter' in #1 is the problem/difficulty that the addressee seems to be facing.
    The 'purpose' is defined in #2

  3. #3
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: definite article: the

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    There is only one of these things.

    The 'matter' in #1 is the problem/difficulty that the addressee seems to be facing.
    The 'purpose' is defined in #2
    Thanks, 5jj.

    I'm sorry I still don't understand.Do you mean "1. What's the matter? 2. What's the purpose of your visit?" apply to the following rule?

    We use the definite article in front of a noun when we believe the hearer/reader knows exactly what we are referring to.
    • because there is only one:

    What do you mean for the following?

    The 'matter' in #1 is the problem/difficulty that the addressee seems to be facing.
    The 'purpose' is defined in #2
    Last edited by Winwin2011; 06-Apr-2013 at 23:02.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: definite article: the

    The 'matter' in #1 is the particular problem/difficulty that the addressee seems to be facing. No other 'matter' is involved; There is only one.

    The 'purpose' is defined as that of your visit. No other problem is involved; There is only one.

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