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    #1

    grammar teacher exprert in articles

    On March 28, 1979, the worst nuclear accident ever to occur in the United States took place at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania. The causes were --- equipment failure and --- human error, leading to a loss of coolant in the reactor and ....
    Why don't we use an article before equipment failure and human error? Why do't we use the? I need the reason.

    The oil tanker x struck Bligh Reef tonight, causing the worst oil spill in --- U.S. history. Why don't we use the before U.S. history? Isn't it known?
    Thanks

  1. lauralie2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: grammar teacher exprert in articles

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysanthemum View Post
    On March 28, 1979, the worst nuclear accident ever to occur in the United States took place at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania. The causes were --- equipment failure and --- human error, leading to a loss of coolant in the reactor and ....
    Why don't we use an article before equipment failure and human error? Why do't we use the? I need the reason.

    The oil tanker x struck Bligh Reef tonight, causing the worst oil spill in --- U.S. history. Why don't we use the before U.S. history? Isn't it known?
    Thanks
    Adding "the" makes the noun phrase more specific, so you'll need to add more, specific information to the phrase. For example,


    • the equipment failure which happened on ...
    • the human error stated by ...
    • in the history of the U.S. / in history / *in the history (* means ungrammatical)

  2. kenkk2's Avatar

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    #3

    Re: grammar teacher exprert in articles

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysanthemum View Post
    On March 28, 1979, the worst nuclear accident ever to occur in the United States took place at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania. The causes were --- equipment failure and --- human error, leading to a loss of coolant in the reactor and ....
    Why don't we use an article before equipment failure and human error? Why do't we use the? I need the reason.

    The oil tanker x struck Bligh Reef tonight, causing the worst oil spill in --- U.S. history. Why don't we use the before U.S. history? Isn't it known?
    Thanks
    Not a teacher.
    Yours is not an easy question to answer perfectly especially to a non native speaker like I am, but I'll try..

    "failure" has a vast meaning to put all here, just simply understand that it refers to the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success. So, equipment failure would not need to be asked: what failure? and hardly: what equipment ( one is already known to run, to activate, to control..the nuclear).
    Human Error ?
    errors in problem detection.
    errors in problem diagnosis.
    errors in action planning and execution.(for example: slips or errors of execution versus mistakes or errors of intention).
    In short, I am not a native speaker, I cannot figure it out from my mother tongue to give a clear explanation, to me, saying : Human error without THE will naturally be the same as saying: It's life ! ( not THE life of course). It would be ridiculous to ask: what human error did they make?
    U.S. History? How many U.S. histories are there? Or Whose History is that? what kind? AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, IT'S SAID THAT WHEN SOMETHING/SOMEONE IS UNIQUE TO SOME ASPECTS, "THE" IS DROPPED.
    In the news, they says: President Obama...They do not say: The President Obama...So, do we need to say THE U.S. History when there is only one history?
    Finally, there is something that we find it very hard to explain, especially
    something a people in a nation is in a habit of writing ,saying for along time and it becomes a common expression,which we, so different from them, find that something seems to be wrong !!!

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    #4

    Re: grammar teacher exprert in articles

    Quote Originally Posted by kenkk2 View Post
    AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, IT'S SAID THAT WHEN SOMETHING/SOMEONE IS UNIQUE TO SOME ASPECTS, "THE" IS DROPPED.
    Who says this? Can you please give the reference you are using to back this up? Thanks

    Often being unique means that something requires the use of the definite article. We say the president, but we don't use the when we say the person's name. We say the sun, etc, because there is only one.

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    #5

    Re: grammar teacher exprert in articles

    Quote Originally Posted by chrysanthemum View Post
    OWhy don't we use the before U.S. history? Isn't it known?
    Thanks
    If you change US to another country, would you say France or French? I'd use French, so although it's hard to tell with US, it is basically functioning as an adjective IMO:


    in French history
    in the history of France

    in US history
    in the history of the US

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