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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
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      • Ukraine
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Dec 2011
    • Posts: 120
    #1

    possessive case: articles

    Hello everyone,
    This problem has been nagging at me for quite a time. I know that traditionally the article refers to the word in the possessive case, e.g. (-the-) Sam's book cannot go with the article as it modifies Sam, not the book. At the same time, if we refer to a type of something, and the possessive case typifies something as a class, the article refers to the headword, e.g. (-a-) sheep's milk won't take the indefinite article if we're not talking about a certain sheep who gave the milk, but about the type of milk (sheep's, not goat's milk). So what about phrases with numerals?
    ten miles' distance (1) = ten-mile distance (2)
    The question is about the article to be used in the first example (1). It's clear that in the second case (2) we can put 'a' before a compound adjective as the article will refer to 'distance'. But can 'a' be placed before 'ten miles' distance'? Can it be 'a ten miles' distance' or not? On the one hand, it's logical that the article here doesn't modify the phrase with the numeral (it's 'THIS ten miles' distance we covered made me really tired', not 'THESE ten miles' distance we covered ...' if we check ourselves on the pronoun). On the other hand, I can't help feeling doubtful about this whole thing. I really hope that my reasoning and the problem itself is more or less clear because I'm completely at a loss here. Could you possibly help me out? Thank you a million in advance!!!

    PS (- -) stands for 'crossed out'. Sorry, I simply don't know how else to mark it.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Ukraine
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Dec 2011
    • Posts: 120
    #2

    Re: possessive case: articles

    Too bad nobody is willing to help me out. This info can't be found in any manual, in contrast to a number of facts discussed, and I have no one to turn to.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • England
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      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,487
    #3

    Re: possessive case: articles

    The fact that you can't find the info in any manual is probably due to the construction being unnatural.

    It's just not colloquial to say 'Manchester is at a ten miles' distance from Bury', or 'This ten miles' distance we covered made me really tired.


    (To cross out a word or phrase, click on Go Advanced, and you'll find a strike-out option.)

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