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  1. #1
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    zero X definite article

    The wet weather scale gets stronger from left to right.

    Why is there no article in front of the adverbs "left" and "right"? I'd use the definite articles there...
    When do you use "the" with "left/right"? When do you use the zero article instead?

    (By the way, if I had made any mistakes here, just correct them, please! I'd be grateful )

  2. #2
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Re: zero X definite article

    Dear Lenka,
    We don’t use ‘the’, when we use the word ‘left’ or ‘right’ as an adverb. As for example I don’t need to use ‘the’ in the sentence “The pole is leaning left a bit”. But we use ‘the’ with ‘left’ and ‘right’, when they are used as nouns, as in the sentence “The house is on the left/right”
    So, I hope that’s clear – thanks for your question.

  3. #3
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: zero X definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by asad hussain View Post
    Dear Lenka,
    We don’t use ‘the’, when we use the word ‘left’ or ‘right’ as an adverb. As for example I don’t need to use ‘the’ in the sentence “The pole is leaning left a bit”. But we use ‘the’ with ‘left’ and ‘right’, when they are used as nouns, as in the sentence “The house is on the left/right”
    So, I hope that’s clear – thanks for your question.
    Thank you, Asad... Anyway, I can't recognize when it's considered a noun and when an adverb

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: zero X definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    Thank you, Asad... Anyway, I can't recognize when it's considered a noun and when an adverb
    Well, at the risk of proposing a circular argument, it's a noun when it takes the. I'll try to be a bit more helpful:

    When you could substitute left-hand side, it's a noun:

    The pole is leaning to the left/left-hand side

    When you could insert towards substitue in a leftward direction, it's an adverb:

    The pole is leaning left/in a leftward direction, it's an adverb.


    b

  5. #5
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: zero X definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Well, at the risk of proposing a circular argument, it's a noun when it takes the. I'll try to be a bit more helpful:

    When you could substitute left-hand side, it's a noun:

    The pole is leaning to the left/left-hand side

    When you could insert towards substitue in a leftward direction, it's an adverb:

    The pole is leaning left/in a leftward direction, it's an adverb.


    b
    Well, but when do I use "left-hand side" and "leftward direction"??
    I understand I may seem quite "stupid", but I'm really having problems with this....

    Could you tell some other examples, please?

  6. #6
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    Re: zero X definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    Well, but when do I use "left-hand side" and "leftward direction"??
    I understand I may seem quite "stupid", but I'm really having problems with this....

    Could you tell some other examples, please?
    Don't worry Lenka; it's not easy (for either of us )

    How about this: left-hand side is a Noun Phrase, so you say 'the left'.
    But in a leftward direction is an Adverbal Phrase, so you omit the article.

    If you could substitute any Adverb Phrase, omit the article -

    The flower was leaning towards the Sun.

    towards the sun is an AP so you omit the article:

    The flower was leaning left

    But if you want to include the direction in your AP, left becomes a noun and so takes the article:

    The flower was leaning to the left.

    b

  7. #7
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: zero X definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Don't worry Lenka; it's not easy (for either of us )

    How about this: left-hand side is a Noun Phrase, so you say 'the left'.
    But in a leftward direction is an Adverbal Phrase, so you omit the article.

    If you could substitute any Adverb Phrase, omit the article -

    The flower was leaning towards the Sun.

    towards the sun is an AP so you omit the article:

    The flower was leaning left

    But if you want to include the direction in your AP, left becomes a noun and so takes the article:

    The flower was leaning to the left.

    b
    Hmm... So, is it possible to say that it has the definite article if it is connected with a preposition?

  8. #8
    BobK's Avatar
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    Re: zero X definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    Hmm... So, is it possible to say that it has the definite article if it is connected with a preposition?

    I think that's a safe rule of thumb, but it'd probably be safer to wait for a day or two - in case anyone says it's not.

    b

  9. #9
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: zero X definite article

    But... In this sentence "The wet weather scale gets stronger from left to right." there are two prepositions and no "the"...

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