Results 1 to 9 of 9
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Slovak
      • Home Country:
      • Slovak Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Slovak Republic

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 15
    #1

    a

    Dear teachers,

    Can you please help me make clear why in the sentence below is used the indefinite article 'a' before the word 'big joke'?

    He finds it a big joke when I say that it is simply impossible for me to please them.

    Is the indefinite article used because the noun 'joke' is introduced to a reader for the first time (also called "first mention")?

    Thank you

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,462
    #2

    Re: a

    I think you're right, oves.

    Note that A big joke would have been a better title for your thread than a.

    Rover

  1. Khosro's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Persian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • Iran

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
    • Posts: 530
    #3

    Re: a

    Quote Originally Posted by oves View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Can you please help me make clear why in the sentence below is used the indefinite article 'a' before the word 'big joke'?

    He finds it a big joke when I say that it is simply impossible for me to please them.

    Is the indefinite article used because the noun 'joke' is introduced to a reader for the first time (also called "first mention")?

    Thank you
    No oves. I think that here "a big joke" does not follow the logic of "first mention". The reader may simply read later in the text:
    "when he told others about my opinion they find it a big joke as well."

    it's about one of the functions of "a/an". look what Murphy says:

    "We use a/an to say what kind of thing or person something/somebody is:
    - A dog is an animal.
    - Are you a good driver?
    - What a lovely dress!"
    (English grammar in use)

    Perhaps Rover did not notice your question exactly, or perhaps he is of another opinion. (Sorry, the correct verb here is not "notice". please help me to find a correct verb for this situations when you accidentally don't notice something)

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Slovak
      • Home Country:
      • Slovak Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Slovak Republic

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 15
    #4

    Re: a

    I do not want to dig too deep, but does anyone know why do we use a/an to say what kind of thing or person something/somebody is?

    I am just curious.

    Thank you

  2. Nightmare85's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 1,333
    #5

    Re: a

    ***Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.***

    Do you mean something like, "He is a genius."?
    Well, there are plenty of geniuses around the world, and he is one of them.

    Cheers!

  3. Khosro's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Persian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • Iran

    • Join Date: Jan 2011
    • Posts: 530
    #6

    Re: a

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    ***Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.***

    Do you mean something like, "He is a genius."?
    Well, there are plenty of geniuses around the world, and he is one of them.

    Cheers!
    Nightmare, when I started learning German it was really hard for me to say "Ich bin Student", and not "Ich bin ein Student" as we say in English:"I am a student". Though it is also possible to say there are plenty of students around the world and he is one of them. Explaining the usage of "a/an" and "the" is perhaps not that easy. I don't know how they say "I am a student" in Slovak Republic!

  4. Nightmare85's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 1,333
    #7

    Re: a

    Hi Khosro,
    Yes, you're right about the 'Ich bin Student.'.
    However, I would definitely not consider 'Ich bin ein Student.' as wrong, just as a bit uncommon.
    I believe they would drop the article in the Slovakian language as well.
    (It's the same for Bulgarian, which has a lot of identical elements with Slovakian.)
    I'll ask a female Slovakian friend today, if I don't forget it .

    Cheers!

  5. Nightmare85's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 1,333
    #8

    Re: a

    Okay, I asked my friend and she said in Slovakian you could drop the article but it would be more common to use the article.
    (So it's not fully the same as in German.)

    Cheers!

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Ukrainian
      • Home Country:
      • Belarus
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 425
    #9

    Re: a

    Not a teacher am I.
    Quote Originally Posted by oves View Post
    I do not want to dig too deep, but does anyone know why do we use a/an to say what kind of thing or person something/somebody is?

    I am just curious.

    Thank you
    I think nobody knows it for sure. This is how English was designed to function. Only the "creator" might give us a definitive answer. Nevertheless, English articles are used to classify things and add some nuances in the English speech.

    The information on the surface is quite popular and easy to digest however there are some cases which are pretty much hard to explain and understand.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •