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  1. #1
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    this/the

    "There, too, I took various language courses and wrote an extensive paper on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Writing this/the paper was a challenge because..."

    Would you say that "this" is mandatory? I don't think it is; "the" also makes it clear which paper is at issue.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: this/the

    ----- I am not an English teacher -----

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    "There, too, I took various language courses and wrote an extensive paper on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Writing this/the paper was a challenge because..."

    Would you say that "this" is mandatory? I don't think it is; "the" also makes it clear which paper is at issue.

    Thanks.
    I wouldn't use "the" here. Only if you had already mentioned the paper somewhere else, or if it is going to play a very special role in the writing.

    In your example I'd rather use "that paper", "such paper" or "this paper", in decreasing order of preference.
    Last edited by Abstract Idea; 01-May-2010 at 16:46. Reason: typo correction

  3. #3
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: this/the

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    "There, too, I took various language courses and wrote an extensive paper on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Writing this/the paper was a challenge because..."

    Would you say that "this" is mandatory? I don't think it is; "the" also makes it clear which paper is at issue.

    Thanks.
    You may also write:
    "The writing of that(this/such) paper was a challenge ..."

    As I wrote in my previous post, if the paper is going to play a special role in the writing, I guess the original "Writing the paper ... " is OK.
    Last edited by Abstract Idea; 01-May-2010 at 16:46. Reason: typo correction

  4. #4
    tedtmc is offline Key Member
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    Re: this/the

    Obviously, there is no doubt which paper the author is referring to when either 'this' or 'the' is used.

    not a teacher

  5. #5
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: this/the

    Quote Originally Posted by tedtmc View Post
    Obviously, there is no doubt which paper the author is referring to when either 'this' or 'the' is used.

    not a teacher
    I completely agree with you, there is no doubt about which paper the author is referring to, regardless of using 'this' or 'the'.
    However, in principle I would not use 'the' in the original text. It maybe a question of style, but I would not feel comfortable using it.
    I think the fact that it is clear what 'the' refers to is not enough to justify its use in the passage.

    When I said unless the paper had been already mentioned somewhere else, I meant somewhere other than the extract provided by Jasmin165. For instance, it could had been mentioned in the title or in another previous section.

  6. #6
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    Re: this/the

    this paper, the paper, that paper - BUT such A paper (requires an article - 'such a' )

  7. #7
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: this/the

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    "There, too, I took various language courses and wrote an extensive paper on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Writing this/the paper was a challenge because..."

    Would you say that "this" is mandatory? I don't think it is; "the" also makes it clear which paper is at issue.

    Thanks.
    No, it's not mandatory. Having personally dealt with this problem on a number of occasions, I'd use "the" or "that".

    I have to disagree with the others about there being no doubt about which paper you're referring to, especially if this text comes from a paper - in which case "this" would tend to refer to the current text, in contrast to the paper you've just mentioned.

    Using "that paper" rules out the possibility of it referring to the current paper, which "the" doesn't do.
    Last edited by Raymott; 02-May-2010 at 06:37.

  8. #8
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Re: this/the

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    No, it's not mandatory. Having personally dealt with this problem on a number of occasions, I'd use "the" or "that".

    I have to disagree with the others about there being no doubt about which paper you're referring to, especially if this text comes from a paper - in which case "this" would tend to refer to the current text, in contrast to the paper you've just mentioned.

    Using "that paper" rules out the possibility of it referring to the current paper, which "the" doesn't do.
    The text comes from a conversation.

  9. #9
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: this/the

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    The text comes from a conversation.
    Then, "this' wouldn't be ambiguous, and you could use it.
    I'd still use "the' or "that".

    If I were going to go on and immediately mention another paper, or if I was talking about several papers, I'd use "that" with emphasis.
    Writing that paper was a challenge because .... But then I started on a new paper.
    You could use 'this' with or without emphasis. You can't emphasise 'the'.

  10. #10
    TheParser is online now VIP Member
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    Re: this/the

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Good afternoon, followers of this interesting and challenging thread.


    (1) I thought that you would like to know that an eminent grammarian agrees with Jasmin: you have a variety of choices.

    (2) Professor Quirk et al. in their book (page 1459 of their 1985 edition) gives this example:

    An argument over unilateral disarmament broke out between them.

    The/ This/ That argument finally put an end to their friendship.

    Have a nice day.

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