Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    nyggus is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,086

    The carbon ... the growing season...

    Hi,

    Articles again. The below sentence was the first sentence of an academic article.

    The carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) contents of plant tissues change during the growing season...

    My questions:
    1. Should "the carbon "(C) and nitrogen (N) contents" be followed by the definite article? I suppose they should: we know that the author means the general "carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) contents of plant tissues" - am I right?
    2. Should indeed "growing season" be followed by the definite article? Here I'm not that sure. The author does not mean here any particular growing season, but a (?) growing season in general. Which article should the author use?


    Thanks,
    nyggus

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    13,531

    Re: The carbon ... the growing season...

    None of them should be followed by an article. An article precedes the noun. The noun follows the article.

    1. It's correct. He means the specific carbon content of the plant. As opposed to the content of other atoms.

    2. It's correct. The growing season versus the other season(s).

  3. #3
    nyggus is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,086

    Re: The carbon ... the growing season...

    Thanks. Sorry for the followed-by-the-article mistake. Embarrassing.

    As for (2), I must admit I don't get it. The author does not have any particular growing season in mind: not the current one, not the previous one, not the next one; he says about a growing season in general. What he says equally refers to each growing season. In every single growing season "the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) contents of plant tissues change", and in fact, generally they change in a similar way in every growing season.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 02-Aug-2017 at 18:22. Reason: Fixing typos.

  4. #4
    tedmc is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    7,922

    Re: The carbon ... the growing season...

    the growing season as distinct from other seasons such as the planting season or the harvesting season.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  5. #5
    nyggus is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,086

    Re: The carbon ... the growing season...

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    the growing season as distinct from other seasons such as the planting season or the harvesting season.
    But do I need a definite article to differentiate "growing season" from "planting season" or any other season? It's obvious that when I say "a growing season" I don't mean the planting season but the growing one, isn't it? I just don't see what function the definite articles serves in this particular use.

    Sorry, but this whole use of articles is killing me. It doesn't help that often I see natives with different opinions on particular uses of the articles.

  6. #6
    nyggus is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,086

    Re: The carbon ... the growing season...

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    There is only one growing season for most crops. That is the growing season.
    Thanks Piscean; that sounds convicing, but...

    You yourself mentioned that "[t]here is only one growing season for most crops" - I added italics to emphasize what I find problematic here. Yes, annual plant species do have just one growing, the growing season. But it's not the case with biennial and perennial species. (Actually, the article I took the quotation from dealt with trees—but I don't think it's crucial in our discussion.)

    Maybe I am a little pinheaded here (I hope not in general), I know. If so, sorry, but I really want to understand the use of articles. The problem here is, I still see the need of using the indefinite article. I accept I may be wrong—you all say the definite article is OK there. And it was there, in the paper. But I want to change my opinion based on an argument I understand and accept. Please, don't stop convicing me if you really think the definite article is OK and that my arguments above (in the previous paragraph of this post) are weak.

  7. #7
    nyggus is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,086

    Re: The carbon ... the growing season...

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Even with perennial plants there is only one growing season each year. That is the growing season for a particular plant in one year.
    Yes. But the sentence had a general meaning and did not mean any particular year and, hence, any particular growing season. Here's the point: the meaning is general, which is why—sorry!—I still do not see the need of using the definite article but do see the need of using the indefinite one.

    You are unlikely to find convincing arguments for the way in which native speakers use (or do not use) articles. The more you study the use of (the) articles more arbitrary it can appear to be. Don't worry too much. If you use articles in a way that some native speakers would not, you will very rarely be misunderstood.
    Thanks. It's comforting. I think your comment makes much sense, especially because—forgive the repetition—many natives use determiners differently. What's more, most standard situations do not pose problems; these are non-standard situations that do, and (I might be mistaken here) these situations seldom are straightforward.

  8. #8
    nyggus is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,086

    Re: The carbon ... the growing season...

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I can only repeat what I said in my last post - Even with perennial plants there is only one growing season each year. That is the growing season for a particular plant in one year.

    'The growing season' is that particular time in any year you care to think of in which a plant grows.
    Thanks again. Perhaps I will understand that tomorrow (or next week, or next year). Now I don't. I do understand what you say, but I have to convince myself that what I think is not what I should think but rather what I should think is what you think.

    Let me also repeat myself (though not literally): For me, this sentence equally refers to the 2017 growing season, the 2015 growing season, the 2020 growing season - and it doesn't at all matter which growing season it is (even though these growing season do differ), because the sentence explains the general truth about biological processes during plant development.

    There's a possibility that we treat the term "growing season" in two different ways. One is that you've used: a term describing a general phenomenon (such as "plant development"), in which case indeed the definite article is justified. The other one is that I've used: a term describing a particular period in a particular year, in which case, I think, the indefinite article is justified.

  9. #9
    Lynxear's Avatar
    Lynxear is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    492

    Re: The carbon ... the growing season...

    The carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) contents of plant tissues change during the growing season.

    Just a comment here on the use of "The" in this sentence. Carbon and nitrogen are adjectives in this sentence. They modify the noun "contents". Eliminate the adjectives and you have a proper sentence:

    The contents of plant tissues change during the growing season.


    Experience is recognizing a mistake the second time you make it.
    You don't go to an Englishman when you want good pierogi.

    - Wisdom from my father

  10. #10
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    1,325

    Re: The carbon ... the growing season...

    I'm being a devil's advocate here but I don't think the omission of those articles will make the sentence wrong.

    "Carbon and nitrogen contents of plant tissues change during growing season".

Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •