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  1. Marina Gaidar's Avatar
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      • Ukraine
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    • Join Date: Jun 2012
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    #1

    A vs. The in possessive structures

    Hello everyone!

    Seems to me quite difficult to get how articles work in such phrases like "a hand of a boy" or "the hand of the boy" and can it be "a hand of the boy" or "the hand of a boy"? To what rules do we stick here? I have such a sentence:

    The hands of a ten year old boy Arthur Shultz are occupied with painting. The brush is noisily tapped against the sides of glass.

    One more question comes across my mind. If we mention a boy for the first time but we add his name right after the word BOY, can we use the indefinite article - "a ten year old boy Arthur Shultz"?

    I seem paranoic! Please, help me!

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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      • British English
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      • UK
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      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,849
    #2

    Re: A vs. The in possessive structures

    Remove "a" and "boy" and it's good. The name "Arthur" leaves little (no) doubt as to the sex of the child.

    The hands of ten-year-old Arthur Schultz are ...

    If you did not specify a particular boy, you could use the indefinite article - "The hands of a ten-year-old boy are usually quite small".

    Note the hyphens in "ten-year-old" when it's used as an adjective. "Arthur is ten years old." "Arthur is a ten-year-old [boy]."
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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