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  1. #1
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    1. To them, the choice of a car is as important as the choice of a home or a spouse, and only a philistine would let a few dollars stand between him and the car he wants. (The New Yorker)

    2. "The choice of car is a major cost-driver in terms of what you're going to pay for insurance", says Jeanne Salvatore, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute. (Forbes)

    What's the difference in meaning between the choice of car and the choice of a car?
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 08-May-2021 at 17:37. Reason: Fixed layout of post
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    Re: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    It appears that the first is trying to say something like the freedom to choose a car/home/spouse. It isn't completely clear to me. Do you have more context? If so, is that right, do you think?

    The second is very clear. It means which car you choose.

  3. #3
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    It appears that the first is trying to say something like the freedom to choose a car/home/spouse. It isn't completely clear to me. Do you have more context? If so, is that right, do you think?
    You are right. Here's an excerpt:

    Suppose that Car and Driver decided to tailor its grading system just to sports cars. Clearly, styling and the driving experience ought to count for much more. So let’s make exterior styling worth twenty-five per cent, the driving experience worth fifty per cent, and the balance of the criteria worth twenty-five per cent. The final tally now looks like this:

    1. Lotus Evora 205

    2. Porsche Cayman 198

    3. Chevrolet Corvette 192.

    There’s another thing funny about the Car and Driver system. Price counts only for twenty points, less than ten per cent of the total. There’s no secret why: Car and Driver is edited by auto enthusiasts. To them, the choice of a car is as important as the choice of a home or a spouse, and only a philistine would let a few dollars stand between him and the car he wants. (They leave penny-pinching to their frumpy counterparts at Consumer Reports.) But for most of us price matters...

    So, for auto enthusiasts the freedom to choose a car is equally important as that of a home or a spouse.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 08-May-2021 at 18:19.
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    Re: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    There you go, then. Very different senses of the word choice.

  5. #5
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    The construction the choice of + noun allows both (zero) noun and a(n) noun depending on context. But I've never seen the type of + a(n) noun.
    Can you think of any context where you would say the type of a car?
    Last edited by Alexey86; 08-May-2021 at 18:53.
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    Re: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Yes.

    The type of a car can tell you a lot about its driver.

    This is like saying 'a car's type'. You can do the same kind of thing with other categories:

    The colour of a car can tell you a lot about its driver.
    The size of a car can tell you a lot about its driver.
    The cost of a car can tell you a lot about its driver.

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    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    The type of a car can tell you a lot about its driver.

    This is like saying 'a car's type'.
    Hmm... Doesn't the type of car mean the same? I feel like changing its to the, though. Compare:

    1. The type of car can tell you a lot about its driver.
    2. The type of car can tell you a lot about the driver.

    What do you think?
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  8. #8
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    Re: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    What do you think?
    My goal was to give you examples using the article. The point was that they don't work without the articles. Working out why is how you get at the difference.

    Compare my sentence to this one:

    The type of car that a driver drives can tell you a lot about its driver.

    The above sentence has the same meaning as my other one, but does not and cannot have an article. Does that help you see the difference in meaning?

    By the way, please don't change my example. It doesn't matter a great deal whether you replace its with the, but on reflection I decided it would be better with its, so let's leave it in place.

  9. #9
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: the choice of car vs the choice of a car

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    The type of car that a driver drives can tell you a lot about its driver.

    The above sentence has the same meaning as my other one, but does not and cannot have an article. Does that help you see the difference in meaning?
    The type of car is an inseparable semantic unit, while the type of a car consists of two parts with the first functioning as a property of the second, so we can change the type to the color or some other feature.

    Considering type as a separable feature, and as long as The colour of the car he drives can tell you a lot about him is correct, would this be correct:

    The type of the car he drives can tell you a lot about him.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    The type of car is an inseparable semantic unit, while the type of a car consists of two parts with the first functioning as a property of the second, so we can change the type to the color or some other feature.

    Considering type as a separable feature, and as long as The colour of the car he drives can tell you a lot about him is correct, would this be correct:

    The type of the car he drives can tell you a lot about him.

    No.
    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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