Results 1 to 5 of 5
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Czech
      • Home Country:
      • Czech Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: May 2013
    • Posts: 49
    #1

    Generalisations with definite/indefinite articles

    Hi,
    Could someone please help me understand the following questions about articles and generalizations?
    Firstly, when I am to write an essay/thesis that, for example, covers something about school environment, can I refer to children and teachers as “the child” and “the teacher” in the essay or should it be “a child” and “a teacher” – when speaking in general?
    For example – The child needs the teacher to reflect on their individual needs. (talking here about all children in general) Is that correct? Or the indefinite article can be also used here?
    And secondly, and this is my long-term struggle, what is the correct form of usage in the following phrases? Again, the phrases should refer to general topics, as if in an essay.
    The preoperative preparation of the operating room
    The preoperative preparation of operating room
    Preoperative preparation of the operating room
    or
    Usage of social network
    The usage of the social network
    The usage of a social network

    I would be very grateful if someone could illuminate these questions for me!

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #2

    Re: Generalisations with definite/indefinite articles

    Quote Originally Posted by Isobela View Post
    can I refer to children and teachers as “the child” and “the teacher” in the essay or should it be “a child” and “a teacher” – when speaking in general? Yes.
    For example – The child needs the teacher to reflect on their individual needs. (talking here about all children in general) Is that correct? Or the indefinite article can be also used here? You can use either. But be consistent. I'd probably use "the".
    And secondly, and this is my long-term struggle, what is the correct form of usage in the following phrases? Again, the phrases should refer to general topics, as if in an essay.
    The preoperative preparation of the operating room <= This one
    The preoperative preparation of operating room No
    Preoperative preparation of the operating room Possible
    or
    Usage of social network No
    The usage of the social network Maybe
    The usage of a social network Maybe
    I would be very grateful if someone could illuminate these questions for me!
    If you have a certain social network in mind: "The usage of a/the social network."
    If it's general: "The usage of social networks."
    You can't talk about "the social network" as you can "the operating room", because there are so many social networks and they are very different.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Czech
      • Home Country:
      • Czech Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: May 2013
    • Posts: 49
    #3

    Re: Generalisations with definite/indefinite articles

    Thank you, Raymott. So, to make sure I understand it correctly, there can be different social networks, but there can be only one operating room when I talk about operating rooms in general (in an essay)? But this is only because I am speaking in general, right? If I was to say that “Her brother lies in an operating room.” that’s also possible, isn’t it?
    What about „the preoperative preparation of an operating room“? I guess this is the same as “the preoperative preparation of the operating room”. ?
    And the phrase “preoperative preparation” when standing alone need not the definite article?
    And finally, what if there are adjectives modifying the noun, is there the definite article?
    The thorough and proper preoperative care of a/the patient” (btw. can both a/the be used here?)
    “The thorough and proper preoperative preparation of the operating room” - this is a crazy phrase J
    I know it’s a lot of questions, but this is really a confusing topic for a non-native speaker.
    Thank you!

  2. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #4

    Re: Generalisations with definite/indefinite articles

    It's difficult to answer all of your questions, because context is important. Headings and topic lines aren't always grammatical.
    All of your "operating room" examples are correct. I wouldn't use 'a' patient. You're talking about the generalised patient.
    In many cases, there are choice. Generally, though, for headings, you can't go far wrong using "the" routinely.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Czech
      • Home Country:
      • Czech Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: May 2013
    • Posts: 49
    #5

    Re: Generalisations with definite/indefinite articles

    Thank you very much for your helpful comments. I cannot say I understand it completely, but some things are much more clear to me now!

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] Definite/Indefinite Articles
    By rainous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Sep-2011, 06:55
  2. [General] definite and indefinite articles
    By vil in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27-Aug-2008, 17:37
  3. Definite/indefinite Articles
    By khawar.sohail in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 26-Nov-2007, 12:18
  4. Definite/indefinite articles
    By Noego in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 25-Sep-2007, 00:29
  5. Indefinite/Definite Articles
    By kooiu in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 22-Jun-2007, 20:23

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •