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Thread: I like a child

  1. #1
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    I like a child

    We can generalise by talking about one example of a class, using a/an with a singular countable noun.(Michael Swan)

    I was wondering if it is natural to say 'I like a child'.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Re: I like a child

    I like a child who can look an adult in the eye and answer questions without using "like" ten times in the sentence.

    You need some sort of qualifier.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: I like a child

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I like a child who can look an adult in the eye and answer questions without using "like" ten times in the sentence.

    You need some sort of qualifier.
    Thanks Barb_D

    I'm sorry I don't understand. Could you further explain, please?

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    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: I like a child

    "I like a child" is an incomplete thought. (Unless you are a cannibal or a pedophile.) You need to say "I like a child who..."

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    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: I like a child

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    "I like a child" is an incomplete thought. (Unless you are a cannibal or a pedophile.) You need to say "I like a child who..."
    Thanks SoothingDave

    I just want to learn articles: talking in general.(We can generalise by talking about one example of a class, using a/an with a singular countable noun.(Michael Swan)

    e.g 1. A child needs plenty of love. 2. A baby deer can stand as soon as it it's born.

    If we say "I like children" (I like them because I teach kids new things all the time), do native speakers think I'm a cannibal or a pedophile?

  6. #6
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    Re: I like a child

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    If we say "I like children" (I like them because I teach kids new things all the time), do native speakers think I'm a cannibal or a pedophile?
    No. "I like children" means that you like children in general. It does not necessarily mean that you are a cannibal or pedophile.
    Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 03-Jul-2013 at 13:51.
    I am not a teacher.

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    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: I like a child

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    Thanks SoothingDave

    I just want to learn articles: talking in general.(We can generalise by talking about one example of a class, using a/an with a singular countable noun.(Michael Swan)

    e.g 1. A child needs plenty of love. 2. A baby deer can stand as soon as it it's born.

    If we say "I like children" (I like them because I teach kids new things all the time), do native speakers think I'm a cannibal or a pedophile?
    Not usually.

    Note that the use of the singular ("a deer") to denote a class is usually done when it is the subject of a sentence and you are speaking in general.

    You can't speak of your own likes in this manner.

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