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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Palestinian Territory
      • Current Location:
      • Palestinian Territory

    • Join Date: Dec 2011
    • Posts: 26
    #1

    Articles

    Hello. How are you all.
    Which one is right? Use "a" mobile or "the" mobile? Use the telephone or a telephone?
    Thank you

  1. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Netherlands

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 1,458
    #2

    Re: Articles

    NOT A TEACHER

    That depends. Could you provide more context?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Palestinian Territory
      • Current Location:
      • Palestinian Territory

    • Join Date: Dec 2011
    • Posts: 26
    #3

    Re: Articles

    I found in our school books an activity about means of communication, and they wrote "use the telephone" and " use a mobile". I just want to know if we can use both articles with the telephone and the mobile.
    Thank you.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,221
    #4

    Re: Articles

    Articles are tricky.

    We may say "Just use the phone" to mean "the entire system of telecommunications." (Like we say "See the doctor" even though there are hundreds of doctors in our city.)

    On the other hand, when annoyed that our daughter hasn't called after being out later than expected, we may also say "And you couldn't have just used a phone to let me know where you were?!" which emphasizes that there are many phones where she was and she could have used any of them to contact us.

    On the other hand, "a mobile phone" would tend to refer to an individual unit, but not a specific one, unless context says otherwise.

    "Call Peter and let him know we'll be late. There's a landline phone and a cell phone on the table, but use the cell - his number is programmed in." In this case, we're talking about a specific mobile (cell) phone.
    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.

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