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    #1

    a bicycle/ the bicycle

    In many places in China, a/the bicycle is still a poplar means of transportation.
    Do both words work? please.

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    #2

    Re: a bicycle/ the bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by norwolf View Post
    In many places in China, a/the bicycle is still a popular means of transportation.
    Do both words work? please.
    Yes.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: a bicycle/ the bicycle

    ... or the plural (but without an article): '...bicycles are a popular means of transport'.

    b

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    #4

    Re: a bicycle/ the bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by norwolf View Post
    In many places in China, a/the bicycle is still a poplar means of transportation.
    Do both words work? please.
    Am i wrong when I prevent the students from using "the" in such cases?

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    #5

    Re: a bicycle/ the bicycle

    I consider it wrong to stop learners using a form that native speakers can, and do, use.

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    #6

    Re: a bicycle/ the bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    Yes.
    (Not a teacher)

    Out of curiosity, what makes you say that "a bicycle is still a popular means of transportation" is correct? In my opinion using 'the' would be much more correct, and in order to use 'a bicycle' it'd be more sensible to write "it is still a popular means of transportation to use a bicycle."

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: a bicycle/ the bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkLightA View Post
    (Not a teacher)

    Out of curiosity, what makes you say that "a bicycle is still a popular means of transportation" is correct? In my opinion using 'the' would be much more correct, and in order to use 'a bicycle' it'd be more sensible to write "it is still a popular means of transportation to use a bicycle."
    What makes us say it is that it's true, and we have the tiresome habit of telling the truth now and then.

    b

    PS Besides, your suggesed version is pleonastic. [ A means] = [a bicycle] => 'to use' is redundant. People do say this sort of thing, but that's no reason to regard it as good practice - or indeed to call it 'sensible'.
    Last edited by BobK; 24-Feb-2011 at 16:52. Reason: Added PS

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    #8

    Re: a bicycle/ the bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkLightA View Post
    (Not a teacher)

    Out of curiosity, what makes you say that "a bicycle is still a popular means of transportation" is correct? In my opinion using 'the' would be much more correct, and in order to use 'a bicycle' it'd be more sensible to write "it is still a popular means of transportation to use a bicycle."
    From my "grammar bible" (A Practical English Grammar, Oxford, Thomson & Martinet):"a/an is used: B) Before a singular countable noun which is used as an example of a class of things" pg.15, and "C) 'the' + singular noun can represent a class of animals or things" pg. 19.

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