Page 3 of 5 First 1 2 3 4 5 Last
Results 21 to 30 of 45
  1. #21
    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: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Your explanations are always helpful, even if I don't fully understand them or feel satisfied. But let's take a broader look. This discussion is not only about you and me. I'm sure it can also be helpful for other learners having difficulties with articles. At least I noticed that my threads about articles are read by many visitors.

    Aren't we exploring these ideas right now? If you mean reading books, the problem with them is I can't talk with their authors, but I can talk with you, which is priceless.
    Okay. Thanks for saying that.

    Can we apply this to other features: the wheel of car, the steering wheel of car, the door of car and so on?
    No, it only applies to what I call 'category' words. Things like colour, size, length, etc. They must be abstract qualities, not physical objects or parts.

    What does you drive modify in "The colour of car you drive says a lot about you"? What confuses me about this sentence is that without the article it sounds as if it's the colour of car that is drove.
    That's right. That's why it's wrong. You can't drive a colour.

    I really don't understand in what sense The colour of the car you drive says a lot about you is not about the colour in the first place.
    It is. Did I suggest it isn't?

    I remember that you don't want to take a deep dive into the definite article. Would you just give me a context or two where you would only use the colour of the car?
    Q: Alexey, what do you think about my new car and boat?
    A: I like the colour of the boat but I don't like the colour of the car.

    There's reference to the colour and the car and the boat, which is why the speaker uses the.

  2. #22
    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: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    That's right. That's why it's wrong. You can't drive a colour.
    I'm confused. You gave me The colour of car you drive says a lot about you in #12 as a correct variant. I explained why it's confusing: it sounds as if you drives the colour of car. And now you agree that it's wrong. Maybe I misunderstood what exactly was wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    It is. Did I suggest it isn't?
    You said, "We don't need an article before car because it isn't necessary: There is no car being referred to", from which I concluded that if we inserted the article (The colour of the car you drive says a lot about you) the sentence would be about the car, not the colour.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 09-May-2021 at 13:19.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  3. #23
    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: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    I'm confused. You gave me The colour of car you drive says a lot about you in #12 as a correct variant. I explained why it's confusing: it sounds as if you drives the colour of car. And now you agree that it's wrong. Maybe I misunderstood what exactly was wrong.
    So I did. Sorry. Although that sentence does sound natural and makes good sense in context, it isn't a good example because the logic is unsound—you can't drive a colour. If you want the logic to be sound, you could rephrase it to: The colour of car [of the car] you drive says a lot about you. That's the sense I wanted what to show. Note that the sentence is not natural English with the bracketed part uttered.

    You said, "We don't need an article before car because it isn't necessary: There is no car being referred to", from which I concluded that if we inserted the article (The colour of the car you drive says a lot about you) the sentence would be about the car, not the colour.
    It's now about both in a way. If you use the before car, you're making specific reference to the car. You're talking about the particular colour of a particular car.

    Can we please stop talking about definite articles? Can't we focus on zero articles? Isn't that the thread topic?

    A related point to all this is how we use zero articles in front of nouns when those nouns are modifying other nouns with respect to showing type or kind. In this way, those nouns are necessarily general and singular (as with uncountable nouns).

    What kind of person would do that?
    It's a different type of thing.
    He's a special kind of man.

    In each case above, I suggest that the idea is essentially the same as in colour of car. We don't use articles in the bold phrases because the words person, thing and man don't refer to anything. They are just general concepts that can be categorised into different kinds. In the same way, I'm saying that in the phrase colour of car, you can understand that the speaker is thinking of the word colour as a certain type/kind and car as a truly general concept that can potentially manifest in various types/kinds. We don't use indefinite articles when we imagine stuff to be truly general, because indefinite articles show that we are thinking of something as countable (i.e. possible to be individuated), and truly general concepts cannot be countable, by their very nature. Does that make sense?

  4. #24
    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: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Let me give you a quick picture of my view of the way words and reality are related. It might help us understand each other.

    Over the course of evolution, we've evolved two theories of matter. That is to say, there are two competing ways of understanding the nature of reality.

    1) Reality is made up of 'stuff'
    2) Reality is made up of 'things'

    1) When we're working with the first theory, we understand that the primary ontology of reality is substance. Reality itself is a substance, which can be classified further into different substances. In this way, you can have substances of substances of substances of ... Substance can be physical or mental or concrete or abstract, and are always expressed in language with nouns. Some examples of substance are expressed with the words reality/matter/carbon/work/peace/grammar. In terms of language, these nouns are what we call uncountable nouns. Uncountable just means that they are understood as substance. Substance can never be used with indefinite articles (if it is, then it is by definition not substance).

    2) The other theory of matter envisions reality to fundamentally consist of things. The world is made up of objects, which are in some important way distinctly individuated from each other. Like substance, these objects can be physical, mental, real, imaginary, abstract, etc. They are expressed by what we call countable nouns because they are by their nature seen as having individual existence. They may/must be used with indefinite articles.

    This all means that when you see/hear an indefinite article before a noun, you know the person has an individual mental object in his mind. And when you see/hear a zero article before a (singular) noun, you know the person has a substance in his mind. This is always and definitively true, and is, I think, the key to understanding the use of the English article system.

  5. #25
    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: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Can we please stop talking about definite articles? Can't we focus on zero articles? Isn't that the thread topic?
    OK. Sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Does that make sense?
    Nothing confuses me when it comes to kind/type of + (zero) count singular noun. This structure suggests that we consider the object as mass and abstract, and we divide it into different kinds/types. But colour... I still find it difficult to see it that way. Moreover, I couldn't find a single example of colour of + (zero) count singular noun on the internet. I'll try to illustrate what exactly causes the difficulties by the following analysis:

    1) The type of car you drive says a lot about you. -> You drive modifies the type of car. -> You drives a particular type of car which says a lot about you.

    All that makes perfect sense to me.

    2) The colour of car you drive says a lot about you. -> You drive modifies the colour of car. -> You drives a particular colour of car which says a lot about you.

    That doesn't make sense to me.

    3) The colour of car you drive says a lot about you. -> Car is a prepositional object, but logically, it is the colour that is the object of car you drive. -> Car you drive has a particular colour which says a lot about you.

    That does make sense to me, but car you drive is semantically definite. We can omit the blue part and just say The car you drive says a lot about you. It remains definite even when I'm talking about its colour or size. So, I don't quite understand why I should omit the before car in such cases.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 09-May-2021 at 16:11.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  6. #26
    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: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    I would appreciate it if other members would participate in the thread.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  7. #27
    Rover_KE is online now Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    31,729

    Re: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    I lost the thread of this thread a long time ago.

  8. #28
    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: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    I lost the thread of this thread a long time ago.
    I summarized my doubts and thoughts in #25.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  9. #29
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,469

    Re: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    I have just had a look at post 25. I'm afraid it doesn't help much.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    1)a. The type of car you drive says a lot about you. -> You drive modifies the type of car. -> b. You drives a particular type of car which says a lot about you.
    [...]
    2)a. The colour of car you drive says a lot about you. -> You drive modifies the colour of car. -> b. You drives a particular colour of car which says a lot about you.
    If you are saying that the sentences I have labeled b have the same meaning as those I have labeled a, you are mistaken

    3) a. The colour of car you drive says a lot about you. -> Car is a prepositional object, but logically, it is the colour that is the object of car you drive. -> b. Car you drive has a particular colour which says a lot about you.
    Sentence 3a is the same as sentence 2a. I don't see how the colour is the object of car you drive. Sentence 3b is not grammatical.

  10. #30
    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: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    If you are saying that the sentences I have labeled b have the same meaning as those I have labeled a, you are mistaken
    b is not a sentence actually. It's just my comment, analysis of sentence a.
    Sorry if my writing is confusing.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    You drives
    You = "You", anyone who drives the car. That's why I italicized it.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Sentence 3b is not grammatical.
    It's a comment too. I italicized car you drive, but not "has" after it. I didn't expect it would be so confusing. Sorry again.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Sentence 3a is the same as sentence 2a. I don't see how the colour is the object of car you drive.
    Maybe I chose the wrong term. The colour of car you drive says a lot about you.
    How would you analyze the part in blue syntactically and semantically? I mean the relationships between colour, car, you and drive.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

Page 3 of 5 First 1 2 3 4 5 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
  •