Page 2 of 7 First 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... Last
Results 11 to 20 of 64
  1. #11
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    869

    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post

    I'm reading Hamlet for a second time.
    I'm reading Hamlet a second time.
    I'm reading Hamlet again.


    They're the same.
    I'm reading Hamlet for the second time.
    I'm reading Hamlet the second time.
    I'm reading Hamlet again.

    What's the difference?

    You say This is a second time is impossible because of the implied for. But for is also implied in This is (for) the second time, which doesn't make it incorrect.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 10-Apr-2021 at 13:59.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  2. #12
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    60,799

    Re: This is a/the second time...

    The first two tell you how many times you've read it before. The third doesn't. If you just say "I'm reading Hamlet again", for all I know you could have read it 153 times already. The ones with "second time"make it clear you've read it only once before.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. #13
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    9,491

    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    We're talking about the difference between for a second time and for the second time. And it's quite clear:

    He went to the supermarket to buy bread. He went to the supermarket for a second time because he had forgotten the milk.
    He went to the supermarket twice. The first time he bought bread. He went for the second time because he had forgotten the milk . . . .
    I don't like for in either.

    The difference between a and the is the same as the difference anywhere else. If we already know he went twice, the is right. If we don't, a is right.
    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.

  4. #14
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    869

    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post

    The difference between a and the is the same as the difference anywhere else. If we already know he went twice, the is right. If we don't, a is right.
    I totally agree. But that doesn't explain why this is the second time... is correct while this is a second time... isn't.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  5. #15
    jutfrank's Avatar
    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    14,792

    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    If these were the same
    They are the same.

    then there were nothing that could prevent you from saying either This is the second time I'm reading Hamlet or This is a second time I'm reading Hamlet.
    It's the grammar that's preventing this. I'll say it one more time. When you say a second time, there is an omitted preposition for, so that a second time = for a second time, in the adverbial sense of 'again'. The phrase a second time looks like a noun phrase, but it's actually adverbial.

    But the thing is that I couldn't find a single example of "this is a second time..."

    That's because it's incorrect, Alexey. People don't say that, because it's wrong. Of course you're not going to find examples of something that's ungrammatical. Look:

    *This is for a second time I'm reading Hamlet.
    *This is again I'm reading Hamlet.

    Can you not see how and why those are not possible? Think about the syntax of the sentence. What can you not use after the linking verb is?

  6. #16
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    869

    Re: This is a/the second time...

    You're contradicting yourself Jutfrank: at first, you say they are the same and then you explain for a second time is different from for the second time.
    What's the difference? Do you mean for the second time doesn't mean again?

    Simple logic: if they are the same, they should be subject to the same usage.

    But I think I understand what you mean (correct me if I'm wrong): for a second time - an adverbial phrase, while for the second time - a prepositional phrase (for + noun phrase). If so, it's very strange that a simple change of the article makes such a difference. Why can't for a second time be a prepositional phrase either, differing from the definite variant only in, well, definiteness?
    Last edited by Alexey86; 10-Apr-2021 at 14:36.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  7. #17
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    9,491

    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    I totally agree. But that doesn't explain why this is the second time... is correct while this is a second time... isn't.
    No. The example I was commenting on was different.
    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.

  8. #18
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    869

    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    No. The example I was commenting on was different.
    Do you agree the difference between I'm reading Hamlet for a second time and I'm reading Hamlet for the second time can be explained by the logic you applied to the supermarket example: "If we already know he went twice, the is right. If we don't, a is right"? So, it's the same difference as between This is the book I wanted to give you (I've told you yesterday about it) and This is a book I wanted to give you (surprise) => I'm reading Hamlet for a second time (it's a new fact for the hearer) vs I'm reading Hamlet for the second time (the hearer knew I was going to read it twice).
    Last edited by Alexey86; 10-Apr-2021 at 15:18.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  9. #19
    jutfrank's Avatar
    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    14,792

    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    You're contradicting yourself Jutfrank: at first, you say they are the same and then you explain for a second time is different from for the second time.

    I'm certainly not contradicting myself. Please point out where you think I'm doing that.

    Do you mean for the second time doesn't mean again?
    No. I think you're confusing grammatical categories. The phrases the second time and for the second time are not (usually) equivalent grammatically or semantically. Look:

    This is the second time I'm reading Hamlet.
    This is for the second time I'm reading Hamlet.


    See? The second is ungrammatical. Why do you think that is?

    I'm reading Hamlet a second time.
    I'm reading Hamlet for a second time.
    I'm reading Hamlet for the second time.
    I'm reading Hamlet again.


    Those are all correct and mean effectively the same thing in this context. But your issue here as I see it is primarily the grammar, not the meaning.

    Simple logic: if they are the same, they should be subject to the same usage.
    There's a very important difference between meaning and use.

    But I think I understand what you mean (correct me if I'm wrong): for a second time - an adverbial phrase, while for the second time - a prepositional phrase (for + noun phrase).
    No, they're both preposition phrases and both adverbial. What is not (necessarily) adverbial is the second time and a second time. The preposition for makes a big difference.

    If so, it's very strange that a simple change of the article makes such a difference. Why can't for a second time be a prepositional phrase either, differing from the definite variant only in, well, definiteness?


    I don't follow this. I honestly don't think the way in to understanding this is by difference of definiteness. The answer to your question about why This is a second time is wrong is to do with grammar rules.

    I can't think of many other ways to repeat what I've already said. One more time:

    a second time
    the second time


    These are noun phrases. They may be used adverbially. You need to ask when they are and when they aren't.

    for a second time
    for the second time


    These are preposition phrases. They must be used adverbially.

    a second time
    for a second time

    the second time
    for the second time


    Despite the difference in form, these two phrases can be (though not always) used in the same adverbial way. Because of this, when they are, I think it is reasonable to consider that the former is equivalent to the latter, but with the preposition unarticulated.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 10-Apr-2021 at 15:42.

  10. #20
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    9,491

    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Do you agree the difference between I'm reading Hamlet for a second time and I'm reading Hamlet for the second time can be explain by the logic you applied to the supermarket example: "If we already know he went twice, the is right. If we don't, a is right"?

    In the Hamlet example, either word tells us the same thing: You're reading it again.

    So, it's the same difference as in This is the book I want to give you (I've told you yesterday about it) vs This is a book I want to give you (surprise).

    Yes. Like the milk example, that's the usual difference between a and the.
    On we go!
    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.

Page 2 of 7 First 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 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
  •