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  1. CarloSsS's Avatar
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    #1

    articles with lists

    In another topic, Raymontt said that the following two sentences have different meanings. What is the difference? I don't see any.

    He has just bought a tomato, onion and water melon.
    He has just bought a tomato, an onion and a water melon.
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: articles with lists

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    In another topic, Raymontt said that the following two sentences have different meanings. What is the difference? I don't see any.

    He has just bought a tomato, onion and water melon.
    He has just bought a tomato, an onion and a water melon.
    It's possible (in some places, if not everywhere) to buy a portion of watermelon, which is not the same as buying a (whole) watermelon.

  3. CarloSsS's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: articles with lists

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    It's possible (in some places, if not everywhere) to buy a portion of watermelon, which is not the same as buying a (whole) watermelon.
    I completely agree. However, that doesn't answer my question that is unless I missed something. If I did miss something, please tell me what it is that I don't see.
    Last edited by CarloSsS; 07-Jul-2012 at 21:42.
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: articles with lists

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    In another topic, Raymontt said that the following two sentences have different meanings. What is the difference? I don't see any.

    He has just bought a tomato, onion and watermelon.
    He has just bought a tomato, an onion and a watermelon.
    Without the article, 'onion' and 'watermelon' can act as mass nouns (uncountable).
    I'll try to make it clearer with a similar example:

    Tom: "We're having a picnic for 40 disadvantaged children, and we need help to make some salad."
    Betty: "Great, how can I help?"
    Tom a) "Can you bring tomato and onion?" b) "Can you bring a tomato and an onion?"

    Only one of Toms answers (a or b) makes sense in the context. Therefore they can't mean the same thing.

    PS: This is essentially what bhaisahab said.

  5. CarloSsS's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: articles with lists

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Without the article, 'onion' and 'watermelon' can act as mass nouns (uncountable).
    I'll try to make it clearer with a similar example:

    Tom: "We're having a picnic for 40 disadvantaged children, and we need help to make some salad."
    Betty: "Great, how can I help?"
    Tom a) "Can you bring tomato and onion?" b) "Can you bring a tomato and an onion?"

    Only one of Toms answers (a or b) makes sense in the context. Therefore they can't mean the same thing.

    PS: This is essentially what bhaisahab said.
    Fair enough. I completely forgot that foodstuffs can be uncountable. Let me present a different example. I imagine that the second sentence is not very natural, but if it is acceptable (even if barely), is there any difference in meaning between these two sentences?

    In my bedroom, I have a desk, a floor lamp and a bed.
    In my bedroom, I have a desk, floor lamp and bed.

    P.S. What I'm trying to achieve here, is come up with a list in a context where the presence of "a" wouldn't make any difference.
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: articles with lists

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    is there any difference in meaning between these two sentences?

    In my bedroom, I have a desk, a floor lamp and a bed.
    In my bedroom, I have a desk, floor lamp and bed.
    Not for me.

  6. CarloSsS's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: articles with lists

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Not for me.
    Thank you. I'd like to ask one more question. Is the second statement more or less natural than the first one. What would a native speaker be likely to say if they have to choose from the two?

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post

    In my bedroom, I have a desk, a floor lamp and a bed.
    In my bedroom, I have a desk, floor lamp and bed.

    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  7. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: articles with lists

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    Thank you. I'd like to ask one more question. Is the second statement more or less natural than the first one. What would a native speaker be likely to say if they have to choose from the two?
    I much prefer the first one.

  8. CarloSsS's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: articles with lists

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I much prefer the first one.
    Thank you bhai.

    What about naturalness? Would you say that the latter is correct English?
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  9. 5jj's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: articles with lists

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    What about naturalness? Would you say that the latter is correct English?
    Carlos, I think you are trying to push for a definitive answer - and you are not going to get one. Tdol has told you that he feels there is no difference between the two; bhaisahab has told you he much prefers the first. I agree with Tdol in feeling that there is no difference; unlike bhai, I don't 'much' prefer the first, though that is possibly the one I would produce myself. bhai did not say that the second was incorrect; I feel that it is correct.

    This is one of those areas of grammar where the speaker/writer has, in some contexts, free choice.

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