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    • Join Date: Aug 2003
    • Posts: 70
    #1

    Red face 'The' not 'a' but then it's not right!!

    Hi all,


    Can someone put me straight on this one please.

    Last week I tried to tell a young student to use the if it's clear what we are talking about e.g the one in the exercise book and a for anything outside which is unclear or we can't point at. This has always been clear and worked before in providing a simple way that kids with zero concentration for any grammar rule stuff would understand and actually listen!!

    However, yesterday during a worksheet exercise on past simple usage, there was a picture of a boy painting with one word under it - YESTERDAY.

    The student (going on what I had told them previously) wrote- He painted THE picture yesterday. I would use A.

    Can one of you please enlighten me on this error and also do you have a simple primary school rule I can use for kids who have zero tolerance for any rule type explanations!!!!!!

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #2

    Re: 'The' not 'a' but then it's not right!!

    Both are OK. It all depends on your perspective - no pun intended.

    Teacher's view: The picture describes an action; it's about painting, not what the boy painted. So, us "a picture."

    Student's view: The boy painted that picture there. We can both see it. We both know about it. It's shared knowledge. So, use "the picture."

    In short, if the exercise is about what the boy painted, then "He painted the picture yesterday." If the exercise is about what the boy did, then "He painted a picture yesterday."

    Now, it's your turn to decide. Should you mark the student's answer correct or incorrect?

    All the best.


    • Join Date: Aug 2003
    • Posts: 70
    #3

    Re: 'The' not 'a' but then it's not right!!

    Thanks Cas. It still just sounds wrong to me! A couple of short definitions I've read seem to point to things that we have no previous knowledge of usually using A, but I'll explain it with what you've given me!


    Mak


    • Join Date: Sep 2005
    • Posts: 260
    #4

    Re: 'The' not 'a' but then it's not right!!

    Both are OK. It all depends on your perspective - no pun intended.
    I would go with 'a', because the painting has not been spoken about before.

    "The boy painted a picture yesterday. The picture was awful."

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