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  1. inase's Avatar
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    #1

    Post Changeable "weather"

    Hello,

    I am troubled with changeable "weather" in terms of its combination with a definite article.

    1. The weather prevented us from going on a picnic.
    2. Weather prevented us from going on a picnic.
    3. Bad weather prevented us from going on a picnic.
    4. The bad weather prevented us from going on a picnic.

    From some corpus, Sentences 1 and 3 seem to be correct. If so, please someone explain the reason why. Is there any possible context where Sentence 4 is acceptable?

    Best regards,
    Inase

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Changeable "weather"

    If you have already mentioned the bad weather, then #4 is fine.

  3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #3

    Re: Changeable "weather"

    Corpora give examples, but they may not give the wider context. They're trying to find real examples of words in use. However, this may mean that things like articles lose their context as they can lose their first mention in the text. They're probably all fine in the wider context, but the corpus is looking at the word weather, not the use of the definite article.

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    #4

    Re: Changeable "weather"

    Those all look fine to me. A couple points, if they help:

    1) The word "the" communicates that the speaker or writer thinks that you know what s/he's talking about. If I say "the dog" to you, I assume you know which dog I have in mind.

    2) "Weather" doesn't need an article in general because it's uncountable. But it certainly can take "the" at times.

    So, if someone told me that "The weather prevented me from going on a picnic," that person assumes that I know what weather he's talking about. And I do: the weather on that day. (Nothing else would make sense.)

    I would personally use the word "the" in that sentence.

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    #5

    Re: Changeable "weather"

    I think of "weather" and "the weather" as interchangeable in most cases.

  6. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Changeable "weather"

    I don't agree. I would say that they are rarely interchangeable. The fact that inase's sentences #3 and #4 are both possible does not mean that they have the same meaning,

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    #7

    Re: Changeable "weather"

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I don't agree. I would say that they are rarely interchangeable. The fact that inase's sentences #3 and #4 are both possible does not mean that they have the same meaning,
    What is the difference between 3 and 4?

  8. Piscean's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Changeable "weather"

    Bad weather introduces the idea of bad weather.
    The bad weather suggests 'the bad weather that we were experiencing/that I have already mentioned'.


    It's a similar difference to that between these two:

    A storm prevented us ...
    The storm prevented us ...


    except that 'weather' is uncountable and 'storm' is countable (hence the indefinite article for the latter).

  9. inase's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Changeable "weather"

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Bad weather introduces the idea of bad weather.
    The bad weather suggests 'the bad weather that we were experiencing/that I have already mentioned'.


    It's a similar difference to that between these two:

    A storm prevented us ...
    The storm prevented us ...


    except that 'weather' is uncountable and 'storm' is countable (hence the indefinite article for the latter).
    In a nutshell, the following are all possible depending on the situation:
    1. a. Weather prevented us ... b. A storm prevented us ...
    2. a. The weather prevented us ... b. The storm prevented us ...
    3. a. Bad weather prevented us ... b. A bad storm prevented us ...
    4. a. The bad weather prevented us ... b. The bad storm prevented us ...

    Inase

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    #10

    Re: Changeable "weather"

    Yes.

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