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  1. Lenka's Avatar

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    #1

    the/a flu

    He has the/a flu.

    Which one is right?

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    #2

    Re: the/a flu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    He has the/a flu.

    Which one is right?
    The flu is correct. Names of illnesses except for some minor ones (a cold, a sore throat, a headache) are uncountable (He is in bed with flu). The definite article "the" is used before the names of some common illnesses like: the flu. American usage can deviate.
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 28-Nov-2006 at 21:53.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: the/a flu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    He has the/a flu.

    Which one is right?
    We say "the flu" even though there are many influenza viruses and many flu-like diseases. But we also say an infection, a virus, an upset stomach. These don't necessarily follow logic. We have a cough, but the croup. For many other diseases, we use no article at all. We have appendicitis, cancer, heart failure, etc. There are also a few that go both ways. People have gout or the gout, mumps or the mumps, measles or the measles. It is a bit of a mess.

  3. Lenka's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: the/a flu

    Thank you for your responses...
    I see it's really quite difficult. And a bit of mess, as Mike has said already. :)

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    #5

    Re: the/a flu

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    We say "the flu" even though there are many influenza viruses and many flu-like diseases. But we also say an infection, a virus, an upset stomach. These don't necessarily follow logic. We have a cough, but the croup. For many other diseases, we use no article at all. We have appendicitis, cancer, heart failure, etc. There are also a few that go both ways. People have gout or the gout, mumps or the mumps, measles or the measles. It is a bit of a mess.
    Although names of illnesses are uncountable, there seems to be no rule because more common diseases take the article as a result of repetition or frequency.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: the/a flu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    Thank you for your responses...
    I see it's really quite difficult. And a bit of mess, as Mike has said already. :)
    You're welcome.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: the/a flu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    Although names of illnesses are uncountable, there seems to be no rule because more common diseases take the article as a result of repetition or frequency.
    And let's not forget the old-fashioned term "the vapors".

  6. Lenka's Avatar

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    #8

    Re: the/a flu

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    And let's not forget the old-fashioned term "the vapors".
    The vapors? What is it? Is it something like fainting?


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    #9

    Re: the/a flu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    The vapors? What is it? Is it something like fainting?
    "The vapours" (in Br.E) was a mythical condition in times long past attributed to women, which caused them to faint at the slightest provocation. Women were considered to be weak creatures.

  7. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: the/a flu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    The vapors? What is it? Is it something like fainting?
    I think "the vapors" applied to emotional symptoms, such as depression or hysteria, as well as to fainting.

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