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  1. Newbie
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    Question Generic reference of the definite article


    I would be glad if you could help me with my following trouble. It is connected with generic reference of the definite article.

    I've researched the topic. It is said that reference is generic when a noun phrase refers to a whole class rather than to an individual person or thing. In this case I have still problems with these examples.

    (1)“The referendum, which will almost certainly result in a vote in favour of breaking away from Ukraine and union with Russia, will trigger the imposition of sanctions by the west on Monday.”

    (2)“European governments are drawing up contingency plans to try to navigate energy shortfalls within the union.”

    (3)“The Kremlin has so far said only that it accepts the right of the Crimean parliament to hold a referendum. ”

    (4)“Nigeria and Uganda have passed laws that make it illegal to even know a gay person without reporting them to the police. ”

    (5)“In the spending review last summer, the government announced that it would consult on how to allocate schools funding in a fairer way – and we will now do this. ”

    Are these references of noun phrases "the west, the union, the Kremlin, the police, the government" generic?

    In my opinion, we can look upon all of them as noun phrases that stand to a whole class indicating the class as represented by its typical specimen. So my answer would be "yes".

    Please, help me. Thank you very much.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Generic reference of the definite article

    Your sentences are nothing to do with generic reference, an example of which would be "The whale is in serious danger of extinction".

    In your examples, what is being referred to is the one and only West(ern powers), (European) Union, Kremlin, police (as an institution), government (we know which one is being referred to).
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 26-Mar-2014 at 08:27.

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