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  1. #1
    NearThere is offline Member
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    Default why not the definite article "the"

    Dear teachers:

    riverkid:

    I am the 4th of [the] 5 children.
    I'm assuming the bracket [ ] over the word "the" is to suggest that "the" be omitted. I was taught in school the purpose of "the" is to specify (or modify?!) a noun/subject/object. I thought "the 5 children" in the sentence highlighted the fact that I and my 4 siblings, instead of roaming children randomly picked from the street, are blood related and children of my parent therefor we (I and my 4 siblings) are specific enough to qualify for a "the", is it not?

    Please enlighten me.

    your humble and unfocused student
    NT

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    Default Re: why not the definite article "the"

    I am the 4th of the 5 children my parents gave birth to.
    There are 5 children in my family. I am the 4th born.
    I am the 4th of (a total of) 5 children born into my family.

  3. #3
    NearThere is offline Member
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    Default Re: why not the definite article "the"

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    I am the 4th of the 5 children my parents gave birth to.
    There are 5 children in my family. I am the 4th born.
    I am the 4th of (a total of) 5 children born into my family.
    Thanks a lot......................but I'm still uninspired.

    So "the" makes sense in the 1st sentence:

    "I am the 4th of the 5 children my parents gave birth to."

    but if I take "the" out of it:

    "I am the 4th of (a total of) 5 children my parents gave birth to."

    the sentence would be wrong? Likewise, if I insert "the" in the 2nd sentence and compare it to the 1st:

    "I am the 4th of the 5 children born into my family."
    "I am the 4th of the 5 children my parents gave birth to."

    one sentence is right, the other is definitely wrong? As you can see, I'm still confused as ever. And how about this:

    "oh yeah, she is the prettier of the 2 (girls)."

    NT

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    Default Re: why not the definite article "the"

    "I am the 4th of the 5 children my parents gave birth to."

    but if I take "the" out of it:

    "I am the 4th of (a total of) 5 children my parents gave birth to."
    the sentence would be wrong?

    No - it is correct. I gave sentences indicating when 'the' would be used correctly.

    Likewise, if I insert "the" in the 2nd sentence and compare it to the 1st:

    "I am the 4th of the 5 children born into my family."
    "I am the 4th of the 5 children my parents gave birth to."
    one sentence is right, the other is definitely wrong?

    No - both are grammatically correct.

    As you can see, I'm still confused as ever. And how about this:
    "oh yeah, she is the prettier of the 2 (girls)."

    If you are comparing two things, then obviously we are being highly specific - we are comparing these two things, and so 'the' would be used, as you have written.

    In the sentence:
    I am the 4th of (a total of) 5 children born into my family.
    I was pointing out that in speaking, we leave out part of the actual sentence - a total of - and so 'the' would not fit in this sentence. We cannot say:
    "I am the 4th of a total of the 5 children born into my family." NOW THAT IS WRONG!

  5. #5
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: why not the definite article "the"

    Quote Originally Posted by NearThere View Post
    Dear teachers:

    I'm assuming the bracket [ ] over the word "the" is to suggest that "the" be omitted. I was taught in school the purpose of "the" is to specify (or modify?!) a noun/subject/object. I thought "the 5 children" in the sentence highlighted the fact that I and my 4 siblings, instead of roaming children randomly picked from the street, are blood related and children of my parent therefor we (I and my 4 siblings) are specific enough to qualify for a "the", is it not?

    Please enlighten me.

    your humble and unfocused student
    NT
    You make some good points, NT. As siblings, you definitely have a great deal of specificity. But I guess that, and this is only a guess, one 'the' is deemed sufficient.

    the 4th of five.

    The assumption, I suppose, is more than strong enough to let everyone know that all are of the same family.

    Now having said that, I can certainly see a second 'the' being thrown in sometimes in casual speech,

    I'm the fourth of the five.

    but I think that would be more likely to come after a specific reference to the five,

    There are five and I'm the fourth of the five.

    This example provided by David,

    I am the 4th of the 5 children my parents gave birth to.

    can also go without the second 'the'.

    I am the 4th of [the] 5 children my parents gave birth to.

  6. #6
    NearThere is offline Member
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    Default Re: why not the definite article "the"

    Thanks David and riverkid.

    I wouldn't blame you if you rolled your eyes while writing the paragraph discussing the use of "the" knowing that the sun would still rise the next day. Ah the thing you have to put up with the uneasily enlightened. You guys rock!



    Correction rules!
    NT

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