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  1. misiania's Avatar
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    #1

    the stars visible/the visible stars

    I'm confused with those two:

    the stars visible/the visible stars

    Is the first one referring to stars visible by naked eye from the earth? and the second one referring to the stars that the human kind knows off?
    How can I simplify those two to make others understand the meaning.

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    #2

    Re: the stars visible/the visible stars

    The first would require some more context to me- the stars visible to the naked eye, for instance- on iits own, it sounds incomplete. Scientists may use them differently, though.

  2. misiania's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: the stars visible/the visible stars

    Unfortunately there isn't more context. I study English philology and in our last exam we were given this exercise to do
    Explain the meaning of the following examples: English/the English; wine table/table wine; golden eagle/gold eagle etc etc amongst them was 'the stars visible/the visible stars'

    I said that that the first one refers to starts visible from earth and the second means stars visible now, at the time of speaking. The teacher said it is correct, nevertheless I think I was just lucky with my answer. Difference between them is not as clear as the other examples and it's still still puzzling me. I dare to say that they mean pretty much the same

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: the stars visible/the visible stars

    Without any context, I would have reversed that.
    "The visible stars" would refer to any stars you can usually see from Earth, while "the stars visible" would feel more immediate. The stars visible don't extend down to the horizon because of light pollution, for example.

    However, I'm with Tdol on this. It feels more natural with additional words.

    There IS no clear-cut definition that all native speakers of English would agree on. This was a bit of a crazy question.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: the stars visible/the visible stars

    ... besides, 'visible from the earth' doesn't really work, as light pollution differs from place to place. You could say this: 'There are many visible stars, but the stars visible from London after lighting up time [that is, the time when the street lights come on], when the moon is new, and with the naked eye, are not nearly as numerous as the stars visible from Dartmoor at the same time under the same conditions.'

    b

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    #6

    Re: the stars visible/the visible stars

    Quote Originally Posted by misiania View Post
    Unfortunately there isn't more context. I study English philology and in our last exam we were given this exercise to do
    Explain the meaning of the following examples: English/the English; wine table/table wine; golden eagle/gold eagle etc etc amongst them was 'the stars visible/the visible stars'

    I said that that the first one refers to starts visible from earth and the second means stars visible now, at the time of speaking. The teacher said it is correct, nevertheless I think I was just lucky with my answer. Difference between them is not as clear as the other examples and it's still still puzzling me. I dare to say that they mean pretty much the same

    *** NOT A TEACHER ***


    Misiania,


    (1) I most respectfully suggest that your teacher accidentally

    made a mistake in telling you that your guess was correct.

    According to A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, written by Professor Randolph Quirk and colleagues:



    The stars visible = stars that are visible at a particular time (for example, "now.")

    The very popular The Grammar Book (by Mesdames Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman) might explain it this way:

    The stars [that are/were] visible at a particular time.

    For example: The only stars visible last night were .... (NOTE: Those two sentences are only my idea -- based on what I read in that book.)

    *****

    The visible stars (says A Comprehensive Grammar) refers to a

    category of stars that can (at appropriate times) [always] be

    seen. (I inserted the word "always.")

    In other words:

    visible stars = a permanent/usual situation.

    stars visible = a temporary situation (depending on the circumstances).

    Finally, let me end with one more example that I got from The Grammar

    Book:

    The only navigable river. = usual fact about that river. It is always navigable.

    The only river navigable. = temporary situation.

    The book explains:

    During the drought the only river [that was] navigable was the Merced.


    Thank you & Happy New Year

    P.S. The Grammar Book also gives credit for some of these ideas to

    Professor D. Bolinger.

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: the stars visible/the visible stars

    Quote Originally Posted by misiania View Post
    ... I dare to say that they mean pretty much the same
    Well, that's pretty audacious - not to say WRONG. Read this thread again - there are several good explanations.

    b

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