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    #1

    Still struggling with "the" and "a (an)"

    We don't have definite or indefinite articles ("the" or "a" or "an) in our language (Japanese), and I still have difficulty using them.
    I believe native speakers of English use them by instinct and they do not have difficulty using them.

    Please tell me if my understanding to the following sentences is correct.

    1. We celebrate the arrival of autumn.

    In the above sentence, "the" before "arrival" cannot be left out, because it means "autumn's arrival."
    Similarly, "the" is required when I say, "I'm awaiting the arrival of an important parcel," because I am talking about an important parcel's arrival.

    2. We need elimination of the employer-based system.
    3. Can we see the elimination of property tax next year?

    There is no definite article (i.e., "the") before "elimination" in sentence 2 while there is in sentence 3. In these sentence structure, "the" before the abstract noun "elimination" can be left out depending on the meaning.
    In my understanding, sentence 2 is talking about just an idea of eliminating the employer-based system while sentence 3 is talking about a rather concrete idea of eliminating property tax. Unlike sentence 1, "Of phrase" in sentences 2 and 3 does not express possession (i.e., we cannot say, "Can we see property tax's elimination next year?).

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    #2

    Re: Still struggling with "the" and "a (an)"

    "The development of science / the construction of a bridge / the arrival of smb" - if a noun modified by the following of-phrase indicates a process, it takes the definite article.

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    #3

    Re: Still struggling with "the" and "a (an)"

    I would use "the" in sentence 2 as well as in 3.

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    #4

    Re: Still struggling with "the" and "a (an)"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokemon View Post
    "The development of science / the construction of a bridge / the arrival of smb" - if a noun modified by the following of-phrase indicates a process, it takes the definite article.
    Thank you for your advice.
    Doesn't "the arrival of smb" indicates smb's act of arriving? Does it indicates a process?

    I found this on the Internet and again I am confused.

    "Canadian tourism boosted with arrival of first Chinese leisure tourists."

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    #5

    Re: Still struggling with "the" and "a (an)"

    Snappy, if it is the title of an article, the absense of 'the' could be easily explained since the articles are often left out in headings and headlines.
    I have always explained that to myself like this: the act of arriving somewhere at some time is kind of a unique thing that describes an object/a person, that's why you say 'the arrival of...'

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    #6

    Re: Still struggling with "the" and "a (an)"

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Snappy, if it is the title of an article, the absense of 'the' could be easily explained since the articles are often left out in headings and headlines.
    I have always explained that to myself like this: the act of arriving somewhere at some time is kind of a unique thing that describes an object/a person, that's why you say 'the arrival of...'
    Thank you for your advice.

    I found the following sentences on the Internet.

    1. The closure of the factory will mean hundreds of jobs will be lost.
    Does this sentence denote the entire act of closing the factory (and the completion of the act) and that is why "the" is used before "closure of"?

    2. Surgical closure of the defect is recommended if the defect is large, the heart is swollen, or symptoms occur.
    Does this sentence denote the act of closing the defect (without referring to the completion of the act) and that is why "the" is not used before "surgical closure"?

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    #7

    Re: Still struggling with "the" and "a (an)"

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    Thank you for your advice.
    Doesn't "the arrival of smb" indicates smb's act of arriving? Does it indicates a process?
    </p>
    "Arrival" semantically belongs to &quot;verbs of accomplishments&quot; which imply that a situation has been developing before it has reached its final point. Somebody had travelled before they arrived.</p>

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    #8

    Re: Still struggling with "the" and "a (an)"

    Let me use other examples that I found on the Internet.

    1. We specialize in the delivery of air cargo containers.

    Can I understand that the person is saying that they specialize in delivering air cargo containers to the destinations (connoting that there is a particular method of delivery in the person's mind)?

    2. We specialize in delivery of sail and power yachts from 35 to 90 feet.

    Can I understand that the person is saying that they specialize in delivering sail and power yachts from 35 to 90 feet (not connoting that there is a particular method in the person's mind but they will probably take a certain appropriate method)?

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    #9

    Re: Still struggling with "the" and "a (an)"

    I think "specialize in delivery of smth" isn't grammatical. It should either be "specialize in delivering smth' or "specialize in the delivery of smth".

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    #10

    Re: Still struggling with "the" and "a (an)"

    Thanks Gil.

    Let me use two other examples.

    1. We specialize in the delivery of air cargo containers.
    Can I understand that the person is saying that they specialize in delivering air cargo containers to the destinations (connoting that there is a particular method of delivery in the person's mind)?

    2. We specialize in delivery of sail and power yachts from 35 to 90 feet.
    Can I understand that the person is saying that they specialize in delivering sail and power yachts from 35 to 90 feet (not connoting that there is a particular method in the person's mind but they will probably take a certain appropriate method).

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