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  1. #41
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: This is a/the second time...

    You finished all three examples with an ellipsis suggesting that there is more to come. If they are supposed to be standalone sentences, they should all finish with just one full stop. As standalone sentences, they are grammatical inasmuch as they contain all the obligatory parts of a grammatical sentence and everything is spelled correctly but I can't think of a context for any of them.

    Take the one about a career, for example. If you were talking about someone's career, you'd use a possessive pronoun, not an indefinite article - "This is his second career".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  2. #42
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    You finished all three examples with an ellipsis suggesting that there is more to come. If they are supposed to be standalone sentences, they should all finish with just one full stop.
    Here are the full sentences:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #43
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    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    All these are correct and make sense, right?
    No, not necessarily. It depends what you mean by 'correct' and 'make sense'. They may or may not be.

    Then we put time after second and the phrase becomes wrong. It's a mystery to me.
    Okay, let's try a different tack. What if I say it doesn't become wrong? Would that count as a satisfactory answer? I still can't work out what kind of answer you think could be satisfactory. What do you mean 'wrong' and 'incorrect'? Have you been thinking that when I've been saying your sentence is wrong that I've meant to say that it is wrong in all possible contexts, regardless of what the speaker means? I'm totally lost here. I have almost no idea what you're asking.

    Can you list some of the ways that you think a piece of language can be incorrect or wrong? Can you give me an example of a sentence that you think is incorrect and why, to help me understand what you mean?

  4. #44
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    No, not necessarily. It depends what you mean by 'correct' and 'make sense'. They may or may not be.
    Well, at least they are grammatically and semantically possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Okay, let's try a different tack. What if I say it doesn't become wrong? Would that count as a satisfactory answer?
    I would be surprised, given your previous answers and the fact that I couldn't find a single example of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I still can't work out what kind of answer you think could be satisfactory. What do you mean 'wrong' and 'incorrect'? Have you been thinking that when I've been saying your sentence is wrong that I've meant to say that it is wrong in all possible contexts, regardless of what the speaker means? I'm totally lost here. I have almost no idea what you're asking.
    I don't understand why you're lost. We can use this is a second X with act, version, wave, career (at least these are possible) and other nouns, except time.
    You say, "First, there's only one second time. Second, the demonstrative This works to show very clearly that there's specific reference going on. " But the same arguments can be applied to the Ludwig examples, but nevertheless, they are possible. Then, you say there's an implied for preventing us from saying this is a second time. But this is the second time also has an implied for, but it's correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Can you list some of the ways that you think a piece of language can be incorrect or wrong? Can you give me an example of a sentence that you think is incorrect and why, to help me understand what you mean?
    In one of my previous replies I wrote I've told you about it yesterday. Here is an example of semantic (or referential?) mistake: I bought a car yesterday. But today I've found that a steering wheel is broken.

    P.S. I suggest moving this thread to the General Language Discussions.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 11-Apr-2021 at 15:18.
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  5. #45
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    . . . But what do think of this example: At the front door: a stuffed eagle nested near a set of jumbo crystals. Large wooden toadstools are scattered about. The staircase leading to a second floor is printed with blue hoof prints. Giddyup, girlfriends!
    (https://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/29/f...s-to-soho.html)
    An article is needed there. In what you've quoted above, both a and the work.

    If readers had aleady been told earlier in the article (which I won't read) that there was a second floor, then the would be better.
    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.

  6. #46
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Why is the not necessary there? Isn't the number of floors known to the speaker?
    At the front door: a stuffed eagle nested near a set of jumbo crystals. Large wooden toadstools are scattered about. The staircase leading to a second floor is printed with blue hoof prints.

    In this particular example, the speaker is not assuming that the number of floors is known to the listener.

    Here are a couple more examples:

    1. My daughter's house is not large, but it's big enough for her. [Continues with a description of the ground floor.] One interesting feature is the staircase to the first floor - it's in the kitchen. [Being British, I assume that my listeners will assume that there is a first floor; hence the definite article.]

    2. My ex-wife's house has more rooms than you'd expect. [Continues with a description of the ground and first floors] At the end of the landing is a staircase leading to a second floor. [Being British, I assume that my listeners will not assume that there is a second floor; hence the indefinite article. However, the house has only one second floor, so I could have used the definite article.]

  7. #47
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    In this particular example, the speaker is not assuming that the number of floors is known to the listener.
    Can we apply this to my example?

    "By the way, I'm building a house in Austin and finishing a second floor (this is new information to the listener + (s)he doesn't know how many floors I'm going to build).
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  8. #48
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    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Can we apply this to my example?

    "By the way, I'm building a house in Austin and finishing a second floor (this is new information to the listener + (s)he doesn't know how many floors I'm going to build).
    You can use it if we don't expect the house to have a second floor.

  9. #49
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: This is a/the second time...

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    You can use it if we don't expect the house to have a second floor.
    Why should the listener expect that? The number of floors varies from house to house. If the listener doesn't know the number of floors I'm going to build (as it is in my example), (s)he just doesn't have grounds for such an expectation, right?
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  10. #50
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    Re: This is a/the second time...

    In the UK, the general expectation is that the sort of house most of us who live in houses live in has two floors.

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