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  1. #1
    kooiu is offline Junior Member
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    Default Definite or Indefinite Article?

    Please help me to indicate how each of the following sentences make sense grammatically in the context where they are made. Please be explicit in helping me as a foreign learner. Thank you for your anticipated help

    1. Assuming I am talking to you about my talk yesterday for the first time, does it make sense to say:

    (a) I gave a talk yesterday about manipulation of race for political ends?
    (b) I gave a talk yesterday about the manipulation of race for political ends"?


    2. Assuming I am reporting the sentence below to you for the first time, does it make sense to say,

    (a) He alleges that oil companies are engaging in the manipulation of the market to collect huge profits?
    (b) He alleged that oil companies are engaging in manipulation of the market to collect huge profits?

    3. I am teaching a topic and I am to introduce it to students for the first time, does it make sense to say,

    (a) Today, we will focus on formation of federations
    (b) Today, we will focus on the formation of federations?

    4. Which of the following is grammatically correct in the context of first time reporting,
    (a) John preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins?
    (b) John preached baptism of repentance for remission of sins

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Definite or Indefinite Article?

    (Not a teacher)

    These are my opinions, based on how the sentences sound to me:

    In numbers 1 and 2, there isn't much difference grammatically or in meaning between the two choices. I would favor using the article in both. In 2, one could also say, "He alleged/alleges that (the) oil companies are engaged in manipulating the market to collect huge profits." If the reference is to oil companies in general, omit the article. If the reference is to a specific group of oil companies, use "the."

    In number 3, if you leave the article off, "formation" may refer to the general or historical development of federations. But if today you are focusing on "the" formation of federations, the implication may be that you discussing the present or future formation of specific federations.

    For number 4, Does "baptism of repentance" refer to a particular or special type of baptism or to a standard baptism in which one repents? If it is special, I would use the articles (choice "a"). If standard, the articles can be omitted but can be used as well.

  3. #3
    kooiu is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Definite or Indefinite Article?

    Greg,
    Please I am confused because I have read that of-constructions that are not attributable are indefinite, except descriptive-of-phrases that are attributable.

    Does it mean that if I prefix each of the nouns with "the", (1 & 2)) race/market has manipulation (race's/market's manipulation) or a type of manipulation, (3) repentance has baptism (repentance's baptism) or a type of baptism?

    In the dictionary, "manipulating" is the same thing as "manipulation", not "the manipulation".

    I am still confused.

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Definite or Indefinite Article?

    Quote Originally Posted by kooiu View Post
    Please help me to indicate how each of the following sentences make sense grammatically in the context where they are made. Please be explicit in helping me as a foreign learner. Thank you for your anticipated help

    1. Assuming I am talking to you about my talk yesterday for the first time, does it make sense to say:

    (a) I gave a talk yesterday about manipulation of race for political ends? (b) I gave a talk yesterday about the manipulation of race for political ends"?


    2. Assuming I am reporting the sentence below to you for the first time, does it make sense to say,

    (a) He alleges that oil companies are engaging in the manipulation of the market to collect huge profits?
    (b) He alleged that oil companies are engaging in manipulation of the market to collect huge profits?

    3. I am teaching a topic and I am to introduce it to students for the first time, does it make sense to say,

    (a) Today, we will focus on formation of federations
    (b) Today, we will focus on the formation of federations?

    4. Which of the following is grammatically correct in the context of first time reporting,
    (a) John preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins?
    (b) John preached baptism of repentance for remission of sins
    To my mind, no article indicates a general topic, and an article indicates specificity.

  5. #5
    kooiu is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Definite or Indefinite Article?

    Please I am a frustrated foreign speaker of English. It is difficult for me to understand your responses as the context in which articles are used matters. I need your help in understanding what is appropriate for each context in the four statements. I have searched the internet for solutions without any success.

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    Default Re: Definite or Indefinite Article?

    Kooiu,

    I'll start with #4. We both have the same question: does "baptism of repentance" refer to a specific type of baptism ceremony or is a general term for all baptisms? I'm pretty sure that it is not "repentance" that is being baptized (the "repentants" are), and probably "baptism of repentance" is a general term for baptism. If the term is general I would not use the article. If "baptism of repentance" is one of several types of baptisms, use of the definite article appears indicated, because it specifies which of the baptism ceremonies is being used.

    For #3, I saw a slight distinction between "formation" and "the formation" of federations, which I explained. Whether other English speakers would agree I don't know.

    There may well be a rule stating that non-attributable "of" constructions are indefinite, and therefore don't take "the." I therefore stand corrected and non-use of the article is better in #1 and #2. In everyday speech, I am sure you would hear both variants.

    Whether "the" is used or not, it is "race" or "market" that is being" manipulated- having manipulation done to it.

    With respect to "manipulating" vs "(the) manipulation":

    He is interested in manipulating the pension fund for his own gain.
    He is interested in the manipulation of the pension fund for his own gain.
    He is interested in manipulation of the pension fund for his own gain.

    I see no differences in meaning here, although you indicate that the third one is not grammatical.

  7. #7
    kooiu is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Definite or Indefinite Article?

    Greg,
    I highly appreciate your effort to lay out each of the statement for careful analysis. I am however sorry to indicate that I still remain a little bit confused in light of "of-phrases" in your reply.

    Why did you omit "the" before "use" and "non-use" the following statements?:

    Your sentences: "If "baptism of repentance" is one of several types of baptisms, use of the definite article appears indicated, because it specifies which of the baptism ceremonies is being used."

    "I therefore stand corrected and non-use of the article is better in #1 and #2. In everyday speech, I am sure you would hear both variants."

    Can "baptism of repentance" used in a general sense be paraphrased into "repentance baptism since it is not "repentance's baptism"?

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