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  1. #1
    Isobela is offline Newbie
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    a/the loss of their jobs

    Hi,

    could you please help me figure out which is the corret usage of articles in the following sentences?

    The main cause for losing their homes was the loss of their jobs.

    or

    The main cause for losing their homes was a loss of their jobs.

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Re: a/the loss of their jobs

    "The main cause of losing their homes was the loss of their jobs."

  3. #3
    Isobela is offline Newbie
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    Re: a/the loss of their jobs

    Thank you for you reply! Is there any case when "a loss of their jobs" can be used?

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    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: a/the loss of their jobs

    No case immediately springs to mind.

  5. #5
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    Re: a/the loss of their jobs

    Quote Originally Posted by Isobela View Post
    Thank you for you reply! Is there any case when "a loss of their jobs" can be used?
    If it's hypothetical, a similar phrase could be used.
    "Families can be disrupted for many reasons: a loss of a job, a divorce, a death in the family."
    "Most working couples would find it hard to cope with a loss of [both of] their jobs."

  6. #6
    Isobela is offline Newbie
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    Re: a/the loss of their jobs

    Thank you, Raymott, that's very useful! So when it's more hypothetical, the article is more likely to be indefinite, and when it refers to some objective reality, it's more likely to be definite. Is that right?

    But reading your second example, I have another question that is also difficult for me to understand. By writing [both of], do you mean that each from the couple has two jobs? Would it be wrong to write: "Most working couples would find it hard to cope with a loss of their job."? Well, when I look at it know, the plural is probably logical there. But how about: "Women had their job and hobby/jobs and hobbies and lived with their family/faimlies."? Which one of these would be correct?
    Thank you!

  7. #7
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    Re: a/the loss of their jobs

    Quote Originally Posted by Isobela View Post
    Thank you, Raymott, that's very useful! So when it's more hypothetical, the article is more likely to be indefinite, and when it refers to some objective reality, it's more likely to be definite. Is that right?
    I don't think it's that black and white. But you use 'the' when something has already been identified (as in sentences in the past tense.) Hypothetical job losses aren't identified yet.
    But reading your second example, I have another question that is also difficult for me to understand. By writing [both of], do you mean that each from the couple has two jobs?
    No, each has one job. If they both lose their job, they have together lost two jobs. I can't remember exactly why I put that there.
    Would it be wrong to write: "Most working couples would find it hard to cope with a loss of their job."?
    That might be ambiguous since, by definition, a working couple has at least one job each, and it's not the same job.

    Well, when I look at it know, the plural is probably logical there. But how about: "Women had their job and hobby/jobs and hobbies and lived with their family/faimlies."? Which one of these would be correct?
    Thank you!
    There's no right answer with a lot of these question. When you write a sentence, you should ask yourself whether it could be misinterpreted. If it could, it's ambiguous and might need re-writing.
    "Women had their jobs and hobbies". I think most women would have one job and several hobbies, so that's problematical.
    If you write, "Women lived with their families", someone might ask how many families does a woman have. If you write, "Women live with their family", someone might ask if they all have the same family.
    Context is vital. Sentences like this aren't written in a vaccuum, and it would be a mistake to assume that English grammar has a built in way to eliminate all these ambiguities.

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