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    #1

    Indifinite/Definite Article

    Does this conversation sound natural?
    A: Can you tell me how to restart this machine?
    B: Sure. It's easy. Open the top cover and press a small green button that is located on the back of the top cover.
    Should it be "press the small green button" instead of "press a small green button" because there is only one small green button on the back of the top cover?
    B did not know the existence of the small green button until A told B. Therefore, I'm wondering if either "press a small green button" or "press the small green button" will do in this case.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Indifinite/Definite Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Does this conversation sound natural?
    A: Can you tell me how to restart this machine?
    B: Sure. It's easy. Open the top cover and press a small green button that is located on the back of the top cover.
    Should it be "press the small green button" instead of "press a small green button" because there is only one small green button on the back of the top cover?
    B did not know the existence of the small green button until A told B. Therefore, I'm wondering if either "press a small green button" or "press the small green button" will do in this case.
    If there is only one, then 'Press the small green button...'

    • Member Info
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    #3

    Re: Indifinite/Definite Article

    Thanks.

    English grammar books published in Japan explains:
    "This is the doll that he made yesterday," suggests that he made only one doll yesterday.
    "This is a doll that he made yesterday," suggests that he made more than one doll yesterday.

    Nevertheless, can I use "This is a doll that he made yesterday" in the following cases?
    1. I do not know how many dolls he made yesterday (he might have made one doll or more than one doll).
    2. It does not look like a doll (because he is clumsy and the person I am talking to said, "What's this waste cloth?" In this case, it does not matter how many dolls he made yesterday.)

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Indifinite/Definite Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Thanks.

    English grammar books published in Japan explains:
    "This is the doll that he made yesterday," suggests that he made only one doll yesterday.
    "This is a doll that he made yesterday," suggests that he made more than one doll yesterday.

    Nevertheless, can I use "This is a doll that he made yesterday" in the following cases?
    1. I do not know how many dolls he made yesterday (he might have made one doll or more than one doll).
    2. It does not look like a doll (because he is clumsy and the person I am talking to said, "What's this waste of cloth?" In this case, it does not matter how many dolls he made yesterday.)
    Yes, in these situations use the indefinite article'a'.

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