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  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default difficulties in the use of articles

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to explain to me why in the following sentences one and the same noun once is without any article and the next time is with a definite or an indefinite article?

    Suddenly the voice of the guns stopped. Silence hung over the valley. “Tess,” he said in a preparatory tone after a silence.

    What fine weather!
    It is burning weather.

    There are people who say that the weather can influence people's mood.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V

  2. #2
    jamiep is offline Member
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    Default Re: difficulties in the use of articles

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to explain to me why in the following sentences one and the same noun once is without any article and the next time is with a definite or an indefinite article?

    Suddenly the voice of the guns stopped. Silence hung over the valley. “Tess,” he said in a preparatory tone after a silence.

    Silence is normal for the valley, it's a quiet place.

    In the second example we are describing a specific period of time, just before "he" spoke.

    What fine weather!
    It is burning weather.

    We are talking about the weather now.

    There are people who say that the weather can influence people's mood.

    We are talking about the weather in general - no specific time.


    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V
    .

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: difficulties in the use of articles

    Quote Originally Posted by jamiep View Post
    . [ ... ]
    Silence hung over the valley. “Tess,” he said in a preparatory tone after a silence.
    In the second example we are describing a specific period of time, just before "he" spoke.

    There are people who say that the weather can influence people's mood.
    We are talking about the weather in general - no specific time.

    So, for "silence" we use the article when we are talking about a specific time.
    And for "weather" we use the article when we are not talking about a specific time.
    Why do we treat "silence" and "weather" differently?

  4. #4
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    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Smile Re: difficulties in the use of articles

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post

    So, for "silence" we use the article when we are talking about a specific time.
    And for "weather" we use the article when we are not talking about a specific time.
    Why do we treat "silence" and "weather" differently?
    The first silence in the first sentence is of a phenomenon - inconceivable in a way, we can't actually say how long it lasts; the other silence is a moment in time when there is nothing either spoken or heard, we can actually say how long it lasts - it is measurable, unlike the first silence.


  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: difficulties in the use of articles

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    The first silence in the first sentence is of a phenomenon - inconceivable in a way, we can't actually say how long it lasts; the other silence is a moment in time when there is nothing either spoken or heard, we can actually say how long it lasts - it is measurable, unlike the first silence.

    I agree. The "silence" example is easy to explain.
    The "weather" example is a different kettle of fish.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: difficulties in the use of articles

    Maybe with fine weather and burning weather we are qualifying the weather with fine and burning and don't need the article, whereas with "the weather can influence people's mood." we are saying that any kind of weather can do this and we use the instead of any kind of.


  7. #7
    engee30's Avatar
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    Default Re: difficulties in the use of articles

    The weather we had in Cornwall was beautiful.
    or
    We had beautiful weather in Cornwall.

    It's attricious weather today, isn't it?
    or
    Isn't the weather attricious today?

    The weather is always changeable and unpredictable.
    What's the weather like in Poland now?

    I can't explain why these are the patterns that are commonly used. But that's the way they are. Jamiep is sort of right about his/her explanations and I share his opinion on this matter.

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: difficulties in the use of articles

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    But that's the way they are.
    Sometimes this is the best explanation.
    But I think bhaisahab's has merit.

  9. #9
    engee30's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: difficulties in the use of articles

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    ...
    But I think bhaisahab's has merit.
    Agreed.

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