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  1. #71
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Well, Alex proved me wrong.
    The last thing I want is to prove anybody wrong. All I want is to master article usage. The examples above confuse me. I can't tell in what sense 'a second floor' represents open-endness there, if my idea of open-ended/closed structures makes any sense at all.
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  2. #72
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    I've found such examples:

    1. Fifty workers and customers huddled for safety on a second floor as it was raked with bullets.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/16/w...ists-rise.html

    2. The clinic is not more than a warren of rooms on a second floor that is reached only by stairs, making it a daunting climb for weakened patients.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/18/w...nt-denial.html

    3. He said police first photographed him for a biometrics database, took him down a long cinderblock hallway on a second floor, and handcuffed him to a bench bolted to the floor.
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...are-black-site

    Hello, Alexey. I have read only the previous page of this long thread of yours and don't know all the details of the discussion, so I hope you won't judge me too hard if what I'm going to say was already said.

    The examples in your quote are really intriguing for me as a learner. So naturally, just like you, I started to look for some explanation and I have a guess, though I don't know whether it's plausible. Could it be (I'm addressing this to the native speakers) that 'on a second floor' means in the contexts ' on another floor' and the writer didn't mean to explain to the readers the exact location of the floor in the building? Like 'a couple of minutes' doesn't necessarily mean exactly two minutes. I guess that if the writer had wanted to say definitely what the floor was, they should have used the definite article. If they didn't, then they probably didn't want to do this.

    Just to clarify my thought... It seems to me that in the 1 and 3 examples the meaning of 'second' is 'another', while in the 2 the author wanted to convey the idea that the clinic was not particularly suitable for the patients because they should get over the stairs, but what exactly the floor was was probably unimportant for the writer. That could be the third or even fourth floor... That's only a guess. I don't know whether it's plausible and would be grateful if the others told me if it is or not.
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

  3. #73
    Tarheel's Avatar
    Tarheel is offline VIP Member
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    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    I listened to her one more time. She doesn't really say a, just takes a little pause. I was misled by the subtitles.

    What about a vs the before zero to eighteen month level?
    You seem to prefer using perfect tense even when it is not indicated.
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  4. #74
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    You seem to prefer using perfect tense even when it is not indicated.
    "I have (just) listened to her one more time and realized I was misled by the subtitles when I listened to her for the first time." That's what I meant.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    I hope you won't judge me too hard if what I'm going to say was already said.
    Thank you, GeneD! Your idea is new and fresh. I'm eager to know what native speakers think about it.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 21-Oct-2020 at 19:31.
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  5. #75
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    "I have (just) listened to her one more time and realized I was misled by the subtitles when I listened to her for the first time." That's what I meant.

    I would say:

    I just listened to her one more time ....
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  6. #76
    GoesStation is online now Moderator
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    I've found such these examples:

    1. Fifty workers and customers huddled for safety on a second floor as it was raked with bullets.

    2. The clinic is not more than a warren of rooms on a second floor that is reached only by stairs, making it a daunting climb for weakened patients.

    3. He said police first photographed him for a biometrics database, took him down a long cinderblock hallway on a second floor. and handcuffed him to a bench bolted to the floor.
    Number 1 is an editing error. It should use the.

    Number 2 is about a particular second floor: one that's reached by stairs, not (for example) by a ramp.

    There's not enough context to judge number 3, but it looks like the victim noted that the event took place on the second floor of a building without providing any more information about the building.
    I am not a teacher.

  7. #77
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I've found such these examples:

    'Such examples' refers to 'the example sentences include "on a second floor"' in emsr's reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Number 2 is about a particular second floor: one that's reached by stairs, not (for example) by a ramp.
    Do you mean 'the second floor' wouldn't be particular?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    There's not enough context to judge number 3, but it looks like the victim noted that the event took place on the second floor of a building without providing any more information about the building.
    This brings us back to the picture in #61. When I ask you 'What floor is the man on?', I don't mean 'Which floor of the rightmost building is the man on?' It's a different question, right? There are several buildings in the picture = several first floors, second floors, etc. Being just one of them is the only relevant characteristic of the floor. Nevertheless, native speakers say 'on the second/third floor.' The question is then, what's the difference between sentence number 3 and my floor example?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails floor2.jpg  
    Last edited by Alexey86; 21-Oct-2020 at 22:34.
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  8. #78
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post


    This brings us back to the picture in #61. When I ask you 'What floor is the man on?', I don't mean 'Which floor of the rightmost building is the man on?' It's a different question, right? There are several buildings in the picture = several first floors, second floors, etc. Being just one of them is the only relevant characteristic of the floor. Nevertheless, native speakers say 'on the second/third floor.' The question is then, what's the difference between sentence number 3 and my floor example?
    Following the logic of your example, the indefinite article should be used, but, as I can see, the native speakers here don't want to do that. Then I conclude that using the+floors is simply idiomatic.

    Am I mistaken feeling that the native speakers would rather use the in all the three examples of post 78? If they feel that the should have been used there, it's convincingly enough for me personally to follow their advice. Who knows? Maybe the writers of those articles were simply showing off with their creativeness? Wanted something new notwithstanding that it's odd?

    Hence the questions to the others:
    Do you find the indefinite article unnatural in those examples?
    And if you find it natural there, could you please explain why the authors preferred it over the?
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

  9. #79
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Maybe this thread will shed some light on the issue? It's about a+ordinal numbers. Not about a+floors, unfortunately, but yet it can be of some help, I think.
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

  10. #80
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    Hello, Alexey. I have read only the previous page of this long thread of yours and don't know all the details of the discussion, so I hope you won't judge me too hard if what I'm going to say was already said.

    The examples in your quote are really intriguing for me as a learner. So naturally, just like you, I started to look for some explanation and I have a guess, though I don't know whether it's plausible. Could it be (I'm addressing this to the native speakers) that 'on a second floor' means in the contexts ' on another floor'

    Good idea, but no, definitely not.

    and the writer didn't mean to explain to the readers the exact location of the floor in the building
    ? Like 'a couple of minutes' doesn't necessarily mean exactly two minutes. I guess that if the writer had wanted to say definitely what the floor was, they should have used the definite article. If they didn't, then they probably didn't want to do this.

    In that case, we'd say something like "another floor" or "a different floor" or "a separate floor."


    Just to clarify my thought... It seems to me that in the 1 and 3 examples the meaning of 'second' is 'another', while in the 2 the author wanted to convey the idea that the clinic was not particularly suitable for the patients because they should get over the stairs, but what exactly the floor was was probably unimportant for the writer. That could be the third or even fourth floor... That's only a guess.

    And a good one!


    I don't know whether it's plausible and would be grateful if the others told me if it is or not.
    When you're talking about a particular second floor, it's the. When you're talking about a generalized second floor, it's a. The only reason we're cautioning against a is that the first is much more likely than the second. We don't often use second floor in a generalized sense, unless it's an adjective phrase, like a second-floor apartment. So on first glance, a just looks strange.

    But Alexey is right. Both are possible, and a is natural in the right context.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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