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    #1

    A conversation

    Hello!

    A conversation

    A: I understand a party will be held in a house next Saturday night. Are you going to the party?
    B: Yes, but where is the house?
    A: 17 Newtown Crescent.
    B: I see.
    A: Well, letís meet at the house on a river, OK?
    B: OK.

    Is something wrong in the conversation above?

    Sincerely

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: A conversation

    Hi Kazuo,
    There is a lot that is not natural about this conversation
    A: I understand a party will be held in a house next Saturday night. Are you going to the party?
    1. "A party will be held" is grammatical but not natural.
    2. "in a house" -- no one would ever say that. That's too vague to be useful.
    3. We would not repeat "the party."

    I understand Tom is having a party at his house next Saturday night. Are you going?
    I understand there's going to be a party at Tom's house next Saturday night. Are you going?
    I hear there is going to be a party next Saturday night. Are you going?

    B: Yes, but where is the house?
    Yes, but where does he live? or Yes, but where is it? (if you don't specific whose house).

    A: 17 Newtown Crescent.
    B: I see.

    These are okay

    A: Well, let’s meet at the house on a river, OK?

    Change "a" river to "the" river, because you are referring to a specific house which is on a specific river. To use this, A must know that B knows which house on which river you are talking about.

    B: OK.
    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: A conversation

    Hi Barb,

    Thank you very much for your reply. That helps me a lot.

    Let me continue the discussion a little.
    I’m just interested in the expression “the house on a river”.

    1. I have ever read an explanation about it. It says as follows.
    Supposing a person who has three houses, which are a house on a river, a house by a lake and a house on a mountain.
    Of these three houses, “the house on a river” refers to one of them.

    2. A website introduces a novel.
    Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead
    Barbara Comyns
    At the beginning of June the river floods, ducks swim through the drawing-room windows and Ebin Willowd rows his daughters round the submerged garden. The grandmother dresses in magenta for her seventy-first birthday whist drive and looks forward to the first prize of pate de fois gras. Later Ives the gardener leads a morose procession up river, dragging her to a funeral in a black-draped punt. The miller goes mad and drowns himself and a cottage is set alight. Villagers keep dying and at the house on a river, plates are thrown across the luncheon table and a tortoise through a window. The newspaper asks 'Who will be smitten by the fatal madness next?'
    (underlined by Kazuo)

    As I read, I begin to feel bad. Why did the author choose to use the indefinite article in the expression?
    I think the author used it in order to express strangeness, mystery etc.

    Thanks in advance

    Sincerely

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: A conversation

    Hi again Kazuo
    1. I have ever read an explanation about it. It says as follows.
    Supposing a person who has three houses, which are a house on a river, a house by a lake and a house on a mountain.
    Of these three houses, ďthe house on a riverĒ refers to one of them.

    I completely disagree. I would use "the river" because it's a specific river. You don't even have to know the name of the river, because it's the specific river that his house is on. That knowledge -- that his house is on this particular river -- is enough to use the definite article.

    Let's say you know a very hard-working man. He has a regular-hours job in an office, and an after-hours job at a restaurant, and a weekend job at a park. You don't have to know the name of his company or where the office is, nor which restaurant he works in, nor which park to refer to "his job at the park" or "his job at the office." It is "the park that he works at" and "the office he works at."

    Was the description you provided above written by a native speaker? A native speaker uses articles instinctively. It's very, very hard for a non-native -- especially one who does not have articles in his or her native language -- to understand all of the nuances.


    The novel quote is very odd in many ways, isn't is? Can you picture people continuing their life uninterrupted while a river has run through their home, simply using a boat to move from room to room? This is one time that you could possible use "the house" but "a river" because the river in their home is not a real river, but a temporary one, and won't exist after the flood recedes. I'm usually good at coming on with examples where things work, but I would never have thought of this!
    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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    #5

    Re: A conversation

    Hi Barb

    Thank you very much for your reply.

    1. The book I referred to was published in 1986, written jointly with a foreigner. The Japanese author was born in 1921. Both were professors at universities. Other information is not available.

    2. I’ve learned a lot, thank you.

    Sincerely

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: A conversation

    Have a look here:
    Barbara Comyns

    The following excerpt might help you understand the nature of her writing.
    Sisters by a River (1947, Eyre " Spottiswood; 1985, Virago Press, with an introduction by Ursula Holden [ISBN: 0 86068 475 X]) "`Mary was the eldist of the family, Mammy was only eighteen when she had her, and was awfully frit of her, but Daddy thought she was lovely and called her his little Microbe...'"[...]

    Sisters by a River
    , the first and most eccentric of [Barbara Comyns'] eight wonderful novels, was first published in 1947. Told through the eyes (and spelling) of a young girl, vivid, funny, and quite unique, it evokes Barbara Comyns'own extraordinary childhood."

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