# Thread: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

1. ## Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

Originally Posted by GoesStation
I think jutfrank was asking about why he chose "that" rather than "it" or "this".
"That" singles out an object and distinguishes it from any other objects: "That object (not this one or any other) is a nice Ferarri = That object (not this one or any other) is an instance of the subset of nice Ferraris, not of the 'not nice' ones, within the set of Frerrari cars."

I don't quite follow. What does "that" have to do with the level example?

2. ## Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

Originally Posted by GoesStation
I think jutfrank was asking about why he chose "that" rather than "it" or "this".
Actually, Alexey86 did give the kind of answer I was looking for. I just wanted to check I understood how he was thinking about the use of the indefinite article in that context.

Originally Posted by Alexey86
What does "that" have to do with the level example?
Nothing. Let's not talk about that, please. I want to focus on the use of articles before level. Bear with me ...

Okay, my next question to you is this: Would you say that in That's a nice Ferrari, the NP a nice Ferrari signifies one example of a nice Ferrari among many possible nice Ferraris? (In other words, one member of the subset nice Ferraris of the set Ferraris?)

3. ## Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

Originally Posted by jutfrank
Would you say that in That's a nice Ferrari, the NP a nice Ferrari signifies one example of a nice Ferrari among many possible nice Ferraris? (In other words, one member of the subset nice Ferraris of the set Ferraris?)
Yes.

4. ## Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

Originally Posted by Alexey86
Yes.
Okay. So following that thought, regarding my sentence He's at an intermediate level, would you say that an intermediate level picks out one example of an intermediate level among many possible intermediate levels? (In other words one member of the subset 'intermediate levels' of of the set 'levels'?) If not, then what does the article do there?

5. ## Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

Originally Posted by jutfrank
If not, then what does the article do there?
Here's is an explanation from Wordreference.com (https://forum.wordreference.com/thre...diate.2418077/):

1) I am at the intermediate level. Let's say we are talking in the context of a number of defined levels - in this case three: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. You are at the level which is defined as intermediate, so you are at a definite level, so you need the definite article - the article which refers to something already defined or definite.

2) I am at an intermediate level. Let's say we're not talking about a defined number of levels. We're just describing any one of an infinite number of levels, e.g. novice, relative beginner, basic competence, fairly experienced, intermediate, very experienced, quite advanced, very advanced, highly proficient, expert etc. There is no defined list of abilities, you can make up as many levels of ability as you want. It's your own description, not one from a previously defined list.

That's exactly what I was talking about in #5. To me, "0 to 18 month level of typical development" is not a loose, subjective description, but a well-defined level of the developmental classification scheme equated with another well-defined level (Level one of the VB-MAPP). That's why I would use the.

6. ## Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

Originally Posted by Alexey86
That's why I would use the.
Okay. I was trying to help you answer the question of why a native would use a.

Never mind. Let's end this thread here.

7. ## Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

Originally Posted by Alexey86
If your child or client is functioning within level one of the VB-MAPP (The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program),
that would be equivalent to functioning at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development.

Why was a used?

You might be able to make a case for saying the level, but it's not natural. It's not the development because it's not talking about one particular one.

There is only one
zero-to-eighteen-month development level and one kind of typical development. I mean development can be either typical or atypical. It's a binary opposition. Of course, there might be variations in development, but every one of them would fall into one or the other kind, wouldn't they?

I'm also not sure how to write the level's name correctly:
a zero to eighteen month level
a zero-to-eighteen-month level
a 0-18 month level
a 0-to-18 month level
a 0 to 18 month level

The writer wrote it correctly: a zero-to-eighteen-month level. That's what kind of level it is.
We use hyphens to build compound adjectives. To decide whether hyphens are needed, try it without the hypens:

- Is it a zero level? No.
- Is it a to level? No.
- Is it an eighteen level? No.
- Is it a month level? No.

None of those make sense on their own. To make sense, they need to be combined. We do that with hyphens: a zero-to-eighteen-month level.

Here are other examples.

- a thirty-year-old woman: She's not a thirty woman, a year woman, or an old woman. So we need the hyphens to build a compound adjective.

- home-brewed beer: It is a brewed beer, but it's not a home beer. So we need the hyphen.

- an all-night party: It is a night party, but it's not an all party. So: hyphenate.

8. ## Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein
The writer wrote it correctly: a zero-to-eighteen-month level. That's what kind of level it is.
Thank you. "The writer" is me. I wasn't sure how to write it correctly because "at a 0 to 18 month level" was in the auto-generated subtitles.

Getting back to my main question, I'd like to illustrate the difference between "a nice Ferrari" and "a zero-to-eighteen-month level of typical development" in terms of the set-subset-element relationships:

I hope these figures clearly show why "a zero-to-eighteen level" confuses me: there is only one such level (= the only element in the subset), while the possible number of nice Ferraris is more than one. I see only one way for this subset to consist of many elements - to consider each possible variation of its indicators (intellectual, emotional, etc.) an element. Let's call these indicators 'x', 'y', 'z'. Suppose each of them allows for the following variations: x=8-10, y=10-12, z=6-8. That means we can consider, for example, [x=8, y=10, z=6] and [x=9, y=11, z=7] two variations of this level or two elements of the set. Now, the second figure looks this way:

Each little circle is "a zero-to-eighteen month level of typical development". Is that what the speaker means by using "a"?

9. ## Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

Originally Posted by Alexey86
I hope these figures clearly show why "a zero-to-eighteen level" confuses me: there is only one such level (= the only element in the subset), while the possible number of nice Ferraris is more than one.

Yes, it's clear to me how you're confused—you're understanding things in the wrong way. Your 'levels' diagram is not right. The smallest subset should be labelled '0-18 month levels of typical development'. We're talking about only one member of this subset.
The idea that you can't seem to accept is that there is more than one member of this subset. It seems to you to be a set with only one member. That's why you want to use the, and that's where you're stuck.

I see only one way for this subset to consist of many elements
Yes. That's exactly the problem.

Each little circle is "a zero-to-eighteen month level of typical development". Is that what the speaker means by using "a"?

I can't say for sure what was going through her mind but I really don't think so. I'm reasonably confident that her conception was as I've explained previously, though to be honest I don't think it was very clear in her mind to begin with. That's why I think trying to understand this example is close to useless.

Are we going to go round in circles on this? Are you trying to convince yourself that what she said was simply a mistake?

(By the way, you have the Ferrari diagram wrong too. I mean, your diagram is one valid way of interpreting the sentence but it doesn't show what I meant. The point of my my original (unfinished) line of questioning was to show you a different way of looking at indefinite article usage.)

10. ## Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

Originally Posted by jutfrank
Are we going to go round in circles on this? Are you trying to convince yourself that what she said was simply a mistake?

I'm not trying to prove her wrong. I'm explaining why I, personally, would use the if I were the speaker: 'a' just wouldn't come to mind because of the way I see the set-subset-element relationships, which needs to be corrected.

Originally Posted by jutfrank
The smallest subset should be labelled '0-18 month levels of typical development'.
I really don't understand how there can be more than one such level. There're many levels within the scope of typical development: 0-18 month level, 0-6 month, 9-12 month, etc., etc. But each possible level seems unique to me. How should I think about these levels so that I can see their multiplicity?

Originally Posted by jutfrank
(By the way, you have the Ferrari diagram wrong too. I mean, your diagram is one valid way of interpreting the sentence but it doesn't show what I meant. The point of my my original (unfinished) line of questioning was to show you a different way of looking at indefinite article usage.)

Sorry, I deviated from your line of questioning. I'm on the track again. What way are you talking about?

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