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  1. firewell
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    #1

    Article usage

    If I want to say something like:

    The appropriate use of this product will result in something or other...

    My instinct tells me to use "the". Am I correct? But is it also possible to say:

    An appropriate use of this product will result...

    Or even

    Appropriate use of this product will result...

    Are any of these ungrammatical? If they are all grammatical under certain circumstances, what are the differences in meaning?

    Thanks!

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Article usage

    You use either the "the" or no article, but it's such an odd thing to say. Have you already discussed what happens when it's used inappropriately?

    This product, when used appropriately, will... may be a better choice for you, depending on context.

    (The use of "an" suggests there are at least two ways to appropriately use the product, and this one way will do something, while another way will do something else. This seems unlikely, but even if you wanted to say that, "one" would be better than "an.")
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: Article usage

    Thanks for the answer!

    The sentence may be odd, but I came up with the sentence just to figure out this one point about article usage. In real life, if I were in doubt, I'd find another way to phrase it.

    In any case, what would be the difference in meaning (if any) between using 'the' and no article in this case? What kind of context would influence the decision?

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Article usage

    I think you need a real teacher to answer this. I actually have a post in here somewhere about how the subtleties of articles confound even native users at times, and how I personally go back and forth in some sentences as to whether it's more natural or changes the meaning to include the "the" or leave it out.

    For your sentence, I don't see any difference.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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