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    #1

    Definite article

    Hi,

    The only visible difference between those sentences is the definite article.
    What are the differences between the meanings and connotations of those sentences? Are there any? (Also, are both of them correct?)

    ------
    To enable use of this feature of the program, you need to obtain a license.

    To enable the use of this feature of the program, you need to obtain a license.
    ------
    Thank you!

  1. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Definite article

    The second sentence is correct. The first has the same meaning, but it seems to me that this is the type of shorthand frequently used in manuals.


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    #3

    Re: Definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by riquecohen View Post
    The second sentence is correct. The first has the same meaning, but it seems to me that this is the type of shorthand frequently used in manuals.
    Thanks. That's interesting.

    However, I was wondering: As correct English is defined by actual usage (descriptive grammar), not by Grammar books or institutions (prescriptive grammar), doesn't the fact that the version without the article is "frequently used" make it 'correct' too?

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    #4

    Re: Definite article

    Echelon,
    English still has rules, such as when to use a definite article.

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    #5

    Re: Definite article

    I see both sentences wrong ones.
    Last edited by e2e4; 03-Sep-2010 at 21:16.

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    #6

    Re: Definite article

    The potential customer doesn't enable the feature. It could be enabled by the license, right?

    To use the feature he needs a license, doesn't he?

    I'd say

    To use the feature, please obtain a license.

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    #7

    Re: Definite article

    If you think a sentence is wrong, it would be helpful if you said exactly what is wrong.

    Take:
    a) In case of fire use of the lift is not permitted.
    b) In case of fire the use of the lift is not permitted.

    I prefer a) to b), simply because it is conciser. Nor can I think of a reason why you should not write a).

    c) I will permit use of the lift.
    d) I will permit the use of the lift.

    I still can't see a reason to call one wrong and the other right.

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    #8

    Re: Definite article

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    a) In case of fire use of the lift is not permitted.
    b) In case of fire the use of the lift is not permitted.

    I prefer a) to b), simply because it is conciser. Nor can I think of a reason why you should not write a).
    I also prefer to say

    In case of fire use of the lift isn't permitted.

    I'd use the second sentence (with the the) if there was a written procedure as an obligation which tells to either an officer or a worker how to act exactly.
    Last edited by e2e4; 04-Sep-2010 at 09:13.

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    #9

    Re: Definite article

    To enable use of this feature of the program, you need to obtain a license.

    This looks better. However, I would prefer it this way:
    To enable this feature of the program, you need to obtain a license.
    :)


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    #10

    Re: Definite article

    Very interesting. It looks like native English speakers disagree about the correctness of the first sentence (without the definite article). About 50% wrote it was correct while about 50% wrote it was not.

    What would be the reason to use the definite article anyway? Any specific rule?

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