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    A/An, The, and Common Focus

    I read the followings in a grammar book (Nitty Gritty Grammar, Young and Strauch)

    The is called the definite article. Writers use 'the' when they know the noun has an estabished meaning for the readers. The writer and reader share knowledge of the noun. When the writer and reader share knowledge of a noun in a particular context, the noun is said to have common focus.

    Sky is a noun that is unique in nature, and thus has common focus. Freeway, beach and ocean are part of many people's everyday enviroments, so they alos have common focus (even for people who have never seen them). 'The' is used with all of these nouns, even a first mention. The following chart lists some nouns with natural common focus.

    Nouns in the Everyday Enviroment: the kitchen, the corner, the street, the sidewalk, the park, the doctor, the dentist, the hospital , the bank etc.

    Use 'the' when it is common for most people in their everday enviroment.

    Could anybody explain to me the meaning of "estabished meaning" and "share knowledge" in the above context, please? What does "common for most people " mean ?
    Last edited by Winwin2011; 09-Apr-2014 at 08:19.

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    Re: A/An, The, and Common Focus

    I can't ask you if you have read the book unless you know which book I am talking about. Once we know which book it is, we have an established meaning and as both now know which book, our knowledge is shared.

    Hospitals are common for most people- a few won't know what they are, but for the vast majority, they're part of the everyday environment even if they haven't been inside one.

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