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    #1

    the students of the university / students of the university

    Hello all, I read an article about the difference between the two noun phrases above. It reads that the former refer to a student body as a whole of that particular university while the letter refer to the students in general. Therefore, sentence A is better than sentence B. [Sentence A: The contest is open to students of the university with valid student cards] [Sentence B: The contest is open to THE students of the university with valid student cards]. I don't think it is such a big deal here and I think both are more or less the same. Would love to hear your opinions. Many thanks

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the students of the university / students of the university

    It is a question of quantity. "The students of the university" means all of them or at least most of them. "Students of the university" means just some of them.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: the students of the university / students of the university

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    It is a question of quantity. "The students of the university" means all of them or at least most of them. "Students of the university" means just some of them.
    Not necessarily. As usual it depends on context and a full sentence.
    "Students of the university can borrow free from the library." This means all students /any student.
    "The students of the university who were running around nude in the quadrangle have been referred to the Dean." This does not mean all the students of the university.
    "But you've inserted a defining clause!" I heard you protest. To which I reply, "That is one of the drawbacks of asking for a differentiation of phrases with no context, and not in a sentence. Besides, the OP has also used restrictive phrases in both his examples."

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    #4

    Re: the students of the university / students of the university

    You did not hear me protest.

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    #5

    Re: the students of the university / students of the university

    Many thanks to Raymott and probus for your sharing. Let's say if there are no relative clauses whatsoever [e.g. The contest is open to students of the university // The contest is open to THE students of the university], the definite article 'the' serves the usual functions such as referring to a specific group of students of the university, right? I have not the foggiest idea then why that so-called English guru has to pedantically state that 'the students of the university' refers to a student body as a whole of that particular university while 'students of the university' refer to the students in general. As native speakers, do you see the distinction? Thanks a lot again

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    #6

    Re: the students of the university / students of the university

    There's not a huge difference, but B) implies that we know that some students don't have valid cards, but the effect is the same- you need to be a student and have a card, so I guess it comes down to how efficiently the cards are distributed.

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    #7

    Re: the students of the university / students of the university

    In English grammar, can't we say the following sentences without difference of meaning?:

    -Chinese/The Chinese are proud of their thousand year culture.

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    #8

    Re: the students of the university / students of the university

    No.

    'The Chinese are proud...' or 'Chinese people are proud...'

    (Didn't Chinese culture begin more than a thousand years ago?)

    Rover

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    #9

    Re: the students of the university / students of the university

    Thank you, Rover. The content is not important at this point; your reply was quite a surprise to me.

    According to the answer, do you not think Chinese can be a plural noun?

    This is what I thought:


    There is a nation called America. All the people there are the Americans. The people there in general are Americans. A person there is an American. Two persons there are two Americans.

    There is a nation called China. All the people there are the Chinese. The people there in general are Chinese. A person there is a Chinese. Two persons there are two Chinese.

    My reading experience told me using Chinese instead of The Chinese as a noun is possible. Or did I misinterpret your reply?
    Last edited by JoeC; 19-Jun-2013 at 14:24.

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    #10

    Re: the students of the university / students of the university

    It's a matter of usage. Yes, you can say Americans, Australians, Koreans, Indians ...
    But it's less common to use the following as plurals without "The": Chinese, Japanese; Vietnamese ... Also British, Scottish, irish; Swiss.
    If you can add an 's' to make a plural, you don't need "the". If you can't, it's more common to use "The"
    Also, we do not generally refer to one person as a Chinese, a Japanese, a British, an Irish, etc.
    You might see differently, but this is the current fashion.

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