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    #1

    others vs. the others

    All the students in our high school like to do volunteer work. Some help at nursing homes every week, the others/others serve as crossing guards from time to time.

    ---------------

    The above is a test question for students to choose between the others and others. I tend to pick others, but the alleged right one is the others.

    What do you think of it? Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: others vs. the others

    Hi, your problem is too simple. It depends on the context. The paragraph says about "all students in our school". We know exactly how many students there are in our school or in other words, "students" here is definite, so when talking about something definite or concrete, we must use the definite article "the" before the noun/pronoun. In your case we must use "the others". It stands for "the other students". It sounds badly when using "others". This means any other things beside "other students". So this doesn't mean exactly what we want to mean.
    Thanks !

  1. euncu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: others vs. the others

    ***neither a teacher nor a native-speaker***

    I think we can put it this way;

    All= some + the others

    In this case, the others = the rest

    But there are other occasions that you should "others"

    I don't care what others think, I'll do what I deem to be true.

    In this case others is not equal to the rest. It's people other than you.

  2. IHIVG's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: others vs. the others

    Quote Originally Posted by crazYgeeK View Post
    Hi, your problem is too simple. It depends on the context. The paragraph says about "all students in our school". We know exactly how many students there are in our school or in other words, "students" here is definite, so when talking about something definite or concrete, we must use the definite article "the" before the noun/pronoun. In your case we must use "the others". It stands for "the other students". It sounds badly when using "others". This means any other things beside "other students". So this doesn't mean exactly what we want to mean.
    Thanks !
    No, you don't necessarily have to use 'the others' to talk about specific group of people. I wouldn't say that 'the others' is wrong in this case (I'm not sure), but without the 'the' it definitely sounds better.
    My friend and I stayed for supper, others went home.

  3. euncu's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: others vs. the others

    Quote Originally Posted by IHIVG View Post
    My friend and I stayed for supper, others went home.
    I beg to differ;

    My friend and I stayed for supper, the others went home.

  4. IHIVG's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: others vs. the others

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    I beg to differ;

    My friend and I stayed for supper, the others went home.
    Well, I'm pretty sure that my sentence is correct. It does not specify what people exactly (or how many) went home. I may not even know them.

    Let's take another example:
    I have four brothers: Greg, Dan, Fyodor and Stas. Greg lives in the US, the others live in Russia.
    Here it's clear that I'm talking about three specific people -- my brothers. 'Others' would be wrong in this case.

  5. euncu's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: others vs. the others

    Quote Originally Posted by IHIVG View Post
    I have four brothers: Greg, Dan, Fyodor and Stas. Greg lives in the US, the others live in Russia.
    I agree on this one and actually this confirms what I said before.

    The others = the rest (in this case, the rest of your brothers)

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    #8

    Re: others vs. the others

    Quote Originally Posted by LiuJing View Post
    All the students in our high school like to do volunteer work. Some help at nursing homes every week, the others/others serve as crossing guards from time to time.

    ---------------

    The above is a test question for students to choose between the others and others. I tend to pick others, but the alleged right one is the others.

    What do you think of it? Thank you.

    In my opinion this is a very badly constructed question.

    If you use the others you are saying that only two forms of voluntary work are done by all the students of a high school. This is highly unlikely.

    I would pick others, which leaves further groups of students who do different, unspecified kinds of work.

    Rover


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    #9

    Re: others vs. the others

    The example in question:
    "All the students in our high school like to do volunteer work. Some help at nursing homes every week, the others/others serve as crossing guards from time to time."

    There's a problem here: it's possible that either of the choices is correct.

    Imagine there are 100 students in your high school. All 100 do volunteer work.

    If, for example, 70 help at nursing homes and 30 serve as crossing guards, then the answer is "the others". So we use "the others" if those two voluntary jobs account for all 100 students.

    But if, for example, 60 help at nursing homes, 25 serve as crossing guards and 15 do some other type of voluntary work, then the answer is "others". So we'd use "others" if those two voluntary jobs didn't account for all 100 students.

    Without any further context, both scenarios are possible.

    ---

    My interpretation, if I had to choose, would be that " the others" is incorrect. Here's why:

    Strictly speaking, "some" generally means "less than half". If we were talking about more than half, it'd be better to use "most" or "many".

    Additionally, "the others" often implies a proportion less than half. If the others in this example (that is, the children who serve as crossing guards) made up the majority, it'd make more sense to say something like: "All do volunteer work. Most serve as crossing guards. Others/the others..."

    Because it would make more sense to use a word like "most" or "many" for any proportion greater than half of the students, I would assume that neither the children who help at nursing homes nor the students who serve as crossing guards account for half of the volunteers.

    If all students do volunteer work, under 50% help at nursing homes and under 50% serve as crossing guards, then some of the students must not have been mentioned in the paragraph.

    If that is true, then "the others" is incorrect and "others" is the right answer.

    ---

    That's how I would interpret the situation if I heard this example from a native speaker. Then again, it's possible that they just didn't write the test question very well.

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