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Thread: THE article

  1. ShadeWe's Avatar
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    #1

    Unhappy THE article

    Reading a text from longman dictionary, I met this sentence:

    Today, the baseball cap is a very well-known item of clothing, even to people who are quite unfamiliar with the game of baseball.

    why is the not placed before people? I've always thought that when there's a definition after a word, I need to place the before this word because I'm talking about a particular instance of this word (or instances, if a word is plural): (The officer that helped me). I remember I made a mistake saying this: (the link where it's explained), and thanks to you all, I realized that I don't need to place the when there's more than one instance of a word (link in my case) even under my definitions. But when I say: "the links where it's explained" Am I not right? Don't I
    define the whole group of links by saying the before "link"? I'm not sure that this is the reason why I can't understand why the article is not placed before people, but I just want to try to get rid of this knowledge gap. I don't have any articles in my native language, so, don't blame me

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    #2

    Re: THE article

    You don't need the before people because you are defining a general class of people, not a specific group of people.

  3. ShadeWe's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: THE article

    Would you mind to give me some examples of both general and specific classes of people? I don't think I clearly understand it.

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    #4

    Re: THE article

    Think of a class as being a generalisation.

    There is a class of people who like baseball. Generally, they are people who like baseball. I don't have any specific people in mind. We don't need an article to classify them.

    Imagine now a real situation where I'm a teacher and I have a group of six students. Two of these students (Alice and Betty) like baseball whereas the others do not. If somebody asks me to identify which two people like baseball, I would answer by specifying. For this, we may use definite articles.

    Which are the people who like baseball?
    Alice and Betty are the people who like baseball.


    Alice and Betty constitute a specific group (not a general class) of people.

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    #5

    Re: THE article

    Quote Originally Posted by ShadeWe View Post
    Would you mind to give giving me some examples of both general and specific classes of people? I don't think I clearly understand it.
    We use a gerund after "mind".

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    #6

    Re: THE article

    Quote Originally Posted by ShadeWe View Post

    Today, the baseball cap is a very well-known item of clothing, even to people who are quite unfamiliar with the game of baseball.

    In this example, you introduce "people" for the first time. Sometimes you will need to use "the" to refer to a specific thing that goes before it. Even though it does sound specific "people who are unfamiliar with the game of baseball", it is still a general class of people.

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