Results 1 to 4 of 4
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Taiwan
      • Current Location:
      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: Dec 2006
    • Posts: 1,895
    #1

    use a/the hula hoop

    There are three people in Kevin's family, and they are doing different things now. Kevin's father is doing tai chi on the balcony. Kevin's mother is using __ hula hoop near his father. What about Kevin? What is he doing? He is sleeping in bed. He is very tired.



    Which article should I use to fill in the above blank, the or a?

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #2

    Re: use a/the hula hoop

    Use "a" -- we don't know anything about this hula-hoop. It hasn't been discussed before. (It's a very odd thing for a grown woman to be doing!)
    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.


    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 576
    #3

    Re: use a/the hula hoop

    Quote Originally Posted by sitifan View Post
    1. Look! Who's the boy riding ____ bike over there?
    2. Look! Who's the girl in ____ red skirt over there?

    Which article should I use to fill in the above blanks, the or a?
    (Not a teacher)

    I can't help but think you are just getting us to do your homework for you, but:

    1. Look! Who's the boy riding the bike over there?
    2. Look! Who's the girl in the red skirt over there?

    Much more productive would be for you to ask why it is 'the' rather than 'a', rather than just asking us to do your work.

    The bike and the skirt are both specific bikes and skirts, so the definate article is used. Both the sentences are asking to know who the boy/girl is by identifying then from what they are doing/wearing.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Taiwan
      • Current Location:
      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: Dec 2006
    • Posts: 1,895
    #4

    Re: use a/the hula hoop

    Use a/the hula hoop
    0. Kevin's mother is using __ hula hoop near his father.
    1. Look! Who's the boy riding __ bike over there?
    2. Look! Who's the girl in ____ red skirt over there?
    __________
    For sentence 2, it seems to me that there is only one right answer: the. The girl isn't wearing just any old skirt; she's wearing that exact red skirt that she's wearing! In the context, the skirt is unique. The speaker is trying to point the girl out in terms of the specific skirt she is wearing. It makes a great deal of difference which skirt the girl is wearing because that is the means by which the listener is able to identify her. This situation calls for the.
    _________________
    For sentences 0 and 1, I don't think that there is a right answer. The choice between a and the depends on what is in the speaker's mind.
    In sentence 0, the speaker may know that there is only one hula hoop that Kevin's mother could possibly be using. It's the same hula hoop she always uses. There is no other hula hoop available to her. So if he says the hula hoop, we the listeners assume these sorts of facts as well. We take the use of the as a signal of the uniqueness of the hula hoop. There is no reason for us to question the speaker's apparent knowledge of the situation.
    If, however, the speaker has in mind simply that Kevin's mother is doing some hula-hoop activities, and this activity is his focus, then it doesn't make any difference whatsoever which hula hoop she is using, so he may decide to say a hula hoop.
    Last edited by sitifan; 19-Dec-2009 at 04:47.

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] a/the bank, park, hospital
    By Snappy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 29-Mar-2009, 19:36
  2. [Grammar] A/The mountain where
    By Snappy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27-Mar-2009, 03:15
  3. a/the friend of my father's who
    By joham in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 15-Nov-2008, 19:40
  4. playing a/the flute
    By Tan Elaine in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 15-Aug-2008, 11:56
  5. a/the
    By puzzle in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 31-May-2008, 04:57

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •