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  1. #1
    joham is offline Key Member
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    Default shore, the shore

    The phrases and sentences all come from LONGMAN, OXFORD and MACMILLAN dictionaries. Could you tell me when to use and when not to use 'the' with the noun 'shore'? Thank you very much in advance.

    swim to shore
    swim to the shore
    swim from the boat to the shore
    an island three miles off shore
    anchor off shore

    We'll head back to the shore if the wind picks up.
    We could see a boat about a mile from shore.
    We had a couple of hours on shore.
    Only a few survirors reached the shore.
    Last edited by joham; 22-Dec-2007 at 06:15. Reason: Missing some words.

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: shore, the shore

    All your examples are perfectly fine. Post more.

  3. #3
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: shore, the shore

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    The phrases and sentences all come from LONGMAN, OXFORD and MACMILLAN dictionaries. Could you tell me when to use and when not to use 'the' with the noun 'shore'? Thank you very much in advance.

    swim to shore
    swim to the shore
    swim from the boat to the shore - swim from the boat to shore
    an island three miles off shore - an island three miles off the shore
    anchor off shore - anchor off the shore

    We'll head back to the shore if the wind picks up. - We'll head back to shore if the wind picks up.

    We could see a boat about a mile from shore. - We could see a boat about a mile from the shore.

    We had a couple of hours on shore. - We had a couple of hours on the shore.

    Only a few survivors reached the shore. - Only a few survivors reached shore.
    There seem to be a lot of questions regarding this issue, that of 'the' with a particular noun. It has nothing do with particular nouns. What it has to do with is general versus specific.

    Now before I go into that, Joham, do you remember the posting I did a while back, not all that long ago actually, where I made a scale? The scale showed how certain areas of meaning required only one style of collocation and another, another style of collocation, for example, 'will versus 'be going to +verb'.

    For certain situations in life only one or the other would work, while there are many situations where either would work. Look at the scale below. There is a large area between 'general' & 'specific', isn't there? That means that there are many situations where 'the' could be used or, alternatively, not used.


    GENERAL --------------------------------------------------------SPECIFIC


    Look now at your examples. Notice how many I've added the alternative, either with or without a 'the'. The reason that this is so confusing is that there is no simple answer any one of us can provide.

    It depends so so so much on the language situation; just one little thing can tilt a native speaker one way or the other, but for most of these situations shown in your examples, either would suffice. The difference, the nuances are hard to explain, actually not so hard, as lengthy and maybe too difficult to grasp.

    Perhaps, it would be more instructive for native speakers to offer some situations where we would be at one of the scale or the other, where only a 'the' or no 'the' would work.

    Look at the shore. OK

    Look at shore. ??

    I can see the shore. OK

    I can see shore. [leans more towards questionable, though I venture, it's not impossible]

  4. #4
    joham is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: shore, the shore

    Thank you very much, RiverKid. I got it. The difference lies in whether we refer to it as a general or specific noun.

  5. #5
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: shore, the shore

    As riverkid said, many times it is optional whether to use "the" or not. Did you see the questions about "the" in the FAQ?
    ~R
    Last edited by RonBee; 23-Dec-2007 at 13:42. Reason: add link

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