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    • Join Date: Oct 2005
    • Posts: 71

    Red face troublesome articles, superlatives...

    Will you please help me with the following:
    1. I have two riddles: one goes like this:"All about, but cannot be seen;can be captured, cannot be held, no throat, but can be heard"
    The answer is "the wind", right? (I mean, with the definite article"the")
    2. The second joke :"I am always hungry;I must always be fed;The finger I lick,will soon turn red" with the answer "fire" (with zero article), right?
    3.I want to give my students some proverbs to practise the comparison of adjectives and wonder how I should bracket the adjectives in the following:
    "The (near).... the church, the (far) .... from God.
    (The whole proverb reads:"The nearest the church, the farthest fom God."
    I think that "The...., the... " here act as conjunctions and are not part of the superlative degree as opposed to:
    (near)... way is commonly (far) .....
    ("The nearest way is commonly the farthest." where "the " helps to form the superlative degree. )
    4, Could I set a task "complete the crossword with the missing words..." - in my Oxford Dictionary of Collocations I found only "solve, fill in, and do" that collocate with crossword.Or should I say "Complete the grid..."?
    I look forward to your response,

  1. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 60,208

    Re: troublesome articles, superlatives...

    1 & 2 are OK.
    3 'The nearer the church, the further from God' sounds more natural to me.
    4 You could, but 'fill in' works better for me.

    • Join Date: Oct 2005
    • Posts: 71

    Re: troublesome articles, superlatives...

    Thank you!
    But then again given that the proverb reads "The nearer the church, the farther from God.", how should I bracket the adjectives in question?
    a. (near)... the church, (far)... from God.
    b.The (near)..., the (far)... .
    I feel that "The...., the...." acts as a conjunction, that "the" doesn't belong to the superlative form itself.
    A heartfelt thank you,
    The matter has started a hot debate among my friends...

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