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Thread: Determiner

  1. #1
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    Default Determiner

    Are these correct? What do these mean? How do I know if I need to use the determiner or not? Is 'high speed' countable? How do you know?
    1. You need to slow down because you’re going at a high speed.
    2. You need to slow down because you’re going at high speed.
    3. You need to slow down because you’re going at high speeds.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    2 would be the most common, but it can be used countably, so1&3 are possible. Some words can be used both ways.

  3. #3
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    Default

    So if it is uncountable, I don't need to use the determiner?
    eg.
    1. You need to slow down because you’re going at (a) high speed.

    What about this?
    2. You do want some peace of mind right?
    3. You do want peace of mind right? (Is this correct? If not, why? How can I correct this without using 'some'?)
    4. You do want a peace of mind right? (Incorrect? Saying you want the actual piece of mind?)

  4. #4
    Nahualli Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jack
    So if it is uncountable, I don't need to use the determiner?
    eg.
    1. You need to slow down because you’re going at (a) high speed.

    What about this?
    2. You do want some peace of mind right?
    3. You do want peace of mind right? (Is this correct? If not, why? How can I correct this without using 'some'?)
    4. You do want a peace of mind right? (Incorrect? Saying you want the actual piece of mind?)
    The only thing that concerns me about these sentences is that they're simply a bit awkward. "Going" is a really generic verb that can mean anything. Going at a high speed is a valid sentence but it's rarely used in that form colloquially. Most would simply plug in an adverb there and say "you need to slow down, you're going too fast."

    This make sense at all? It's possible to go somewhere at a high speed but it's pretty uncommon to speak in such vague terms. If this is for a class exercise, please disregard this entire post. :(

    -Nah-

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Determiner

    Thanks.

    http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?level=SK&id=794125
    The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from (a) heat-related failure. (Isn't 'failure' a countable noun? How come there is no determiner?)

    What do these mean?
    1. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from a heat-related failure.
    2. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from heat-related failure.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Determiner

    Are these correct? What do these mean?
    1. I want six slices of (the/an) apple. (How come this is correct without the determiner?)
    2. I want six slices of apple.

    3. I can do all sorts of things.
    4. I can do all sorts of thing. (Why is this correct without the determiner?)

    5. It functions as (a/the) modification. (Why isn't 'a/the' required? 'Modification' is not a count noun?)
    Last edited by jack; 20-Nov-2004 at 07:09.

  7. #7
    TheMadBaron Guest

    Default Re: Determiner

    1. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from a heat-related failure.
    Using 'a' makes the word 'failure' refer to a specific incident, not to failure in general. It sounds okay in some contexts, but this isn't really one of them.

    2. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from heat-related failure.
    That's correct.

    1a.
    "I want six slices of an apple."
    I want six slices of any apple.

    1b.
    "I want six slices of the apple".
    I want six slices of a specific apple.

    Both are grammatically correct, but they sound a bit unusual.... particularly the first one. You'd normally just say....

    2) "I want six slices of apple."

    3)
    I can do all sorts of things.
    Correct. It means you can do many things. For example, you can probably walk, talk, rub your head and pat your stomach. Maybe even at the same time.

    4)
    I can do all sorts of thing. (Why is this correct without the determiner?)
    It's not correct, with or without the determiner. The sentence refers to things, plural, and requires the 's'.

    5)
    It functions as (a/the) modification. (Why isn't 'a/the' required? 'Modification' is not a count noun?)
    It's both countable and uncountable, I guess. Like pizza. (Only, not as tasty.)

    So if it is uncountable, I don't need to use the determiner?
    That's right. For example, you would say 'a glass of water', or 'a bowl of water', but not 'a water'. Glasses and bowls are countable. Water is not.
    Last edited by TheMadBaron; 20-Nov-2004 at 08:22.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Determiner

    Thanks.
    1. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from a heat-related failure.
    Using 'a' makes the word 'failure' refer to a specific incident, not to failure in general. It sounds okay in some contexts, but this isn't really one of them.
    What about this?
    1. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from
    heat-related failures. (Is 'failures' in general now? Or does it mean different kinds of failures?)

    2. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from
    heat-related failure. (So when I use this without a determiner, does it mean 'failure' is not countable?)

    That's right. For example, you would say 'a glass of water', or 'a bowl of water', but not 'a water'. Glasses and bowls are countable. Water is not.
    I want six slices of apple.

    I still don't get this one. Why is this correct without the determiner? 'Apple' is countable? So when I don't use the determiner, does it mean it is not countable and 'apples' in general?)

    http://www.monstercable.com/productPage.asp?pin=281
    3. You can maximize your system performance with (a/the) Monster cable. (Is 'a/the' omitted here? If so, how do I know if it is 'a' or 'the' or none of the two? Which makes 'cable' uncountable?
    Last edited by jack; 21-Nov-2004 at 12:34.

  9. #9
    TheMadBaron Guest

    Default Re: Determiner

    Quote Originally Posted by jack
    Thanks.What about this?
    1. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from
    heat-related failures. (Is 'failures' in general now? Or does it mean different kinds of failures?)
    It means heat-related failures in general, which could include different kinds of heat-related failure.

    2. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from heat-related failure. (So when I use this without a determiner, does it mean 'failure' is not countable?)
    Yes.

    I want six slices of apple.
    I still don't get this one. Why is this correct without the determiner? 'Apple' is countable? So when I don't use the determiner, does it mean it is not countable and 'apples' in general?)
    Apple in general.... we're not really talking about green and red round objects that grow on trees anymore.... we're talking about apple flesh.

    Consider this.... we keep (live) chickens, but we eat chicken.

    Fruits, (and most other foods) can be countable and uncountable, depending on context.
    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8662

    It all depends on whether you're dealing with complete units or not. This will sound strange, but it may help, if you think about it.... you can cut apples up to make apple, and you can cut chickens up to make chicken. Conversely, you can cut up cable to make cables....

    http://www.monstercable.com/productPage.asp?pin=281
    3. You can maximize your system performance with (a/the) Monster cable. (Is 'a/the' omitted here? If so, how do I know if it is 'a' or 'the' or none of the two? Which makes 'cable' uncountable?
    It's not necessary to include a/the. Cable can be both countable and uncountable, so they all make sense (but have subtly different meanings).

    Supposing I was advertising Baron cables, which are for connecting jack flanges to norabs. I could tell you that you can improve your system with a Baron cable. However, for all I know, you might have a really big system, with several jack flanges, so maybe I should tell you that you can improve your system with Baron cables. Then again, you might only be able to afford one Baron cable, and I don't want to give you the impression that you need more than one in order to improve your system performance....
    Maybe I'd better just tell you that you can improve your system performance with Baron cable.

    Cable - uncountable - There is a big roll of Baron cable at a hardware supply store. (You could count that as being one very big cable, I guess, but it's not much use as a cable yet, unless your jack flange is an awfully long way from your norab....)

    Cable - countable or uncountable - You enter the store and ask the man at the counter for three Baron cables of a particular length. The man cuts these lengths of cable from the roll, and you buy them. It's true that you now have cable, but you also have three cables.

    Cable - countable - once you've attached flange plugs to them, and plugged them in to your norabs, they're definitely starting to be more like cables than cable....

    I hope this helps.....
    Last edited by TheMadBaron; 22-Nov-2004 at 17:18.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Determiner


    Supposing I was advertising Baron cables, which are for connecting jack flanges to norabs. I could tell you that you can improve your system with a Baron cable. However, for all I know, you might have a really big system, with several jack flanges, so maybe I should tell you that you can improve your system with Baron cables. Then again, you might only be able to afford one Baron cable, and I don't want to give you the impression that you need more than one in order to improve your system performance....
    Maybe I'd better just tell you that you can improve your system performance with Baron cable.
    Thank you very much. This is very helpful.

    What about this?
    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/defi...5797&dict=CALD
    So 'computer' can be uncountable? What would that mean then?

    1. We've put all our records on (a/the) computer. (What about here? What does it mean without the determiner? Also, how come I don't have to use the determiner?)

    2. They stayed with us for a short time. (Is 'time' countable? How come I need 'a' here?)
    Last edited by jack; 22-Nov-2004 at 09:33.

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