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  1. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #11

    Re: to give (a) new life to something

    The countable use is appropriate in (3) because, as I described in post #4, the idea is that this new edition of the book is like a new existence. The book now has a new form.

    The uncountable use is appropriate in (4), also for the same reasons I gave in post #4.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    What does exactly determine the difference in article usage?
    The meaning determines the difference. I don't know how to be any clearer. People's use of grammar reveals what they mean. That is, it tells us about the thoughts they have in mind.

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    #12

    Re: to give (a) new life to something

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    The uncountable use is appropriate in (4), also for the same reasons I gave in post #4.
    I just don't see any barriers for using both "life" and "a life" in (4).

    1) "...Ross "gave new life to classic books," Taylor said. "All of that baseball history was in danger of disappearing from bookshelves." = Ross reanimated classic books to prevent disappearing baseball history from bookshelves.

    2) "...Ross "gave a new life to classic books," Taylor said. "All of that baseball history was in danger of disappearing from bookshelves." = Ross gave a new existence to classic books to prevent disappearing baseball history from bookshelves.

    Do both variants sound fine to you?
    Last edited by Alexey86; 19-Feb-2020 at 22:37. Reason: to fix a typo
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  3. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #13

    Re: to give (a) new life to something

    The interpretation expressed by your version in 2) is not likely to reflect what the writer was thinking.

    Do you have any more context? If you want to analyse this any further, we need to know more about what the writer means. Based purely on the writer's choice to use an uncountable noun, I predict that, as I suggested in post #4, there was an idea in the writer's mind of there being some kind of (re)invigoration, or 'injection of life-stuff', but we can't really tell for sure from this meagre context.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    I just don't see any barriers for using both "life" and "a life" in (4).
    You don't need to see any barriers. Just try to understand why the writer used the form he/she did.

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    #14

    Re: to give (a) new life to something

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Do you have any more context?
    Unfortunately, I don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    You don't need to see any barriers. Just try to understand why the writer used the form he/she did.
    There are two different points: 1) to try to understand what the author was thinking, 2) to try to figure out if "a new life" works in principle.

    The former is impossible for the lack of context. So, let's focus on the latter. I'll try to explain with an example how I see the "new life/a new life" distinction. When someone repairs an old, decrepit, "dying" building, they "reanimate" it, give it new life or breath new life into it. But if someone, in addition to this, changes the purpose of the building (by turning an old factory into a hotel, for example), they give it a new life, a new way of existing. Coming back to (4), I think it's possible to prevent disappearing baseball history from bookshelves by coming up with a new format of the books = a new way of their existing. That's what I see as a new life.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 20-Feb-2020 at 00:15. Reason: to add a sentence, to fix a typo
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  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #15

    Re: to give (a) new life to something

    Okay, that's reasonable, yes. I think you've understood this well enough.

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    #16

    Re: to give (a) new life to something

    Do I understand it correctly that "to give life/give a life" are different from "to give new life/a new life" in terms of meaning? "To give life" means to create something or to give birth to a child, whereas "to give a life" means to devote one's life to someone or something.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 20-Feb-2020 at 12:37.
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  7. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #17

    Re: to give (a) new life to something

    It could. It's hard to think of a context for give a life.

    I suggest you find some examples of authentic use in context in order to analyse this further.

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    #18

    Re: to give (a) new life to something

    It seems things are more complicated than I thought. I'll provide you with several examples from Ludwig with my attempts to interpret them.

    (https://ludwig.guru/s/give+a+life+to)


    a) "... parents away from sugar-cane cutting," he said in a Brazilian television interview last month. "I wanted to give a life to my parents. I wanted to give my parents a house". ...

    "To give a life" = "I wanted my parents to have a better life." This is quite clear.


    b) "... programming the software while his younger brother made the hardware. "It wasn't easy," says Sahak. "We had to give a life to an inanimate piece of iron. Every day we tried new solutions to improve the robot ..."

    This is confusing, since the meaning is "to animate/breath life into," but for some reason "a life" is used.


    c) "Mr. Kim has "the talent to make porcelain look like real enamel," with the characteristics and translucency that give a life to it like you were born with it," Dr. Lituchy said."

    It seems this one is close to (b), i.e. "give a life to it" = porcelain looks alive. I don't understand why "a life" is used.


    d) "Blok (who is now creative director at Edmodo, a social network for students and teachers) says that creating the logo was like raising a child: "You give a life to this individual, and then they have a life of their own."

    This example means "to create/to give birth to a child". But in #16 I assumed it is "to give life" that provides such a meaning.
    Maybe "you give a life to this individual" means "you devote your life"?


    e) "Simply tap the plus sign beside each one to request lives. A friend can only give a life to you once a day, so make it count. Tap the Send button once done to send the requests."

    As I see it, this quote is about a video game in which a player can have many lives. So, "a life" meets my expectations.


    To sum up, only (a) and (e) are understandable and predictable for me personally.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 20-Feb-2020 at 18:34. Reason: to fix a typo, to add a sentence below d)
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  9. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #19

    Re: to give (a) new life to something

    Okay, let's start with (b).

    The speaker is thinking of the robot as having its own discrete independent existence. Sahak's team had to give it 'a life' in the sense that I have 'a life' and you have 'a life'.

    Sentence (d) has the same idea, using a life countably to refer to the independent existence that a child leads. (You can clearly see this in the final phrase a life of their own.)

    I'm not sure about (c). I don't understand it very well.

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    #20

    Re: to give (a) new life to something

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    The speaker is thinking of the robot as having its own discrete independent existence.
    "An inanimate piece of iron" confuses me. When we animate or reanimate something we, first of all, give life/breath life into it. Of course, it can live independently, but only after that.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Sentence (d) has the same idea, using a life countably to refer to the independent existence that a child leads. (You can clearly see this in the final phrase a life of their own.)
    But children or "children" (products) can start to live their own life only after their parents/creators, first, give life to/create them. However, (d) says, "You give a life to this individual, and then they have a life of their own." That's what confuses me. But if "then" is of little importance, and the whole sentence means just "they live a life you give them", I get this.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 20-Feb-2020 at 20:34. Reason: to add a question, reformulation
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