Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. nik4's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 20
    #1

    Noun with the definite article as a subject of a sentence

    Hello everybody. Please, help me to clarify this question.

    Assuming that there are many books I owe to a person and some of them are here on my table, is it correct to say:

    "The books I owe you are on my table"?

    Will it show that those books just belong to ones I owe to the person, and somewhere else are other books I owe him?
    Or will it strictly mean that these are the only books I owe?

    The confusion is because "the" is often used for an exhaustive list.


    And if to say: "The book I owe you is on my table" - the same question - can it just show that this is one of those books and there are other books I owe somewhere?

    Thanks.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,912
    #2

    Re: Noun with the definite article as a subject of a sentence

    "The books I borrowed from you are on the table" or "The books I need to return to you are on the table" are fine. Note that the verb "owe" sounds unnatural in this context.

    There is no way to tell how many books are on the table in total. All we know from your statement is that, somewhere on the table, the person can find the books that you want to give back to him.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. nik4's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 20
    #3

    Re: Noun with the definite article as a subject of a sentence

    Thanks for the answer. I still don't understand one thing..
    If I say "The books I owe you are on my table" - does it mean that they all are on my table, and there can't be any of them somewhere else, for instance in another cupboard?

  4. Roman55's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • France

    • Join Date: Feb 2014
    • Posts: 2,314
    #4

    Re: Noun with the definite article as a subject of a sentence

    I am not a teacher.

    I would take, 'The books I owe you are on my table' to mean that all of the books I borrowed from you are on the table. If you mean only some of them, then say so.

    Similarly, 'The book ...' means I only borrowed one, and there it is.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,912
    #5

    Re: Noun with the definite article as a subject of a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by nik4 View Post
    Assuming that there are many books I owe to a person and some of them are here on my table, is it correct to say:

    "The books I owe you are on my table"?
    No- you could say The books on my table are ones that I owe you, but your sentence suggests that the books on the table are all the ones owed.

  5. nik4's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 20
    #6

    Re: Noun with the definite article as a subject of a sentence

    Guys, thank you a lot for helping. From what you told me, another question appeared. If to say something like this:

    "These are the pens I borrowed from you. This is also the pen I borrowed from you".

    Some people told me that it is correct, like "the" doesn't mean only, it just shows what something is. I would like to listen to your opinions.

    Can I use "the" several times here, talking about more and more pens I borrowed?

    Thanks.

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,912
    #7

    Re: Noun with the definite article as a subject of a sentence

    If you say your two sentences, then all we know is that there is one set of pens ("the pens I borrowed from you") and then one more borrowed pen. I don't know why you would say those two sentences in succession though. You would refer to all those pens in one sentence "These are [all] the pens I borrowed from you."
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. nik4's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 20
    #8

    Re: Noun with the definite article as a subject of a sentence

    I got it, thanks)))
    The point of my question is: if I borrowed many pens from a person, and then give him a part of them, would it be correct to say:
    "These are the pens I borrowed from you" ? - I use "the" here, even though these are not all the pens I borrowed.

    This is what I can't comprehend.

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,912
    #9

    Re: Noun with the definite article as a subject of a sentence

    No. If you're not giving all of them back, you need to say "Here are some of the pens I borrowed from you".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. nik4's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 20
    #10

    Re: Noun with the definite article as a subject of a sentence

    Pretty interesting, all the time I thought the opposite was true. Thanks a lot:)

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [Vocabulary] zero article + plural=definite article the + singular for generalization
    By Yonsu99 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24-Jul-2014, 06:36
  2. [Grammar] Definite article in front of a noun making adjective
    By mr02077 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-Dec-2012, 17:02
  3. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 05-Oct-2011, 12:56
  4. [Grammar] use of the definite article with a plural noun
    By zorank in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 29-Sep-2011, 15:29
  5. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-Jun-2007, 09:28

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
  •