Interested in Language
My question is not exactly a language question, but I hope you would help me. I came across the following passage in an old English novel ("The Nebuly Coat" Project Gutenberg text). An old woman, who used to be rich, but now is very poor, is looking at the bill from a clothing store.
"Material and trimming one bonnet, 11 shillings and 9 pence; one hat, 13 shillings 6 pence. Total, 1 pound 5 shillings 3 pence." It really was not worth
while making a fuss about, and the bunch of cherries and bit of spangled net were well worth the 1 shilling 9 pence, that Anastasia's had cost more than hers.
(Anastasia is the woman's niece living together.)
I think "the bunch of cherries and bit of spangled net" refers to "material and trimming one bonnet" in the bill, so the sentence
"the bunch of cherries and bit of spangled net were well worth the 1 shilling 9 pence"
"the bunch of cherries and bit of spangled net were well worth the 11 shilling 9 pence",
shouldn't it? If not, I think the definitive article "the" is not necessary. Am I right?
The definite article is used to indicate that the reader already knows which object or person is being talked about. In this case, it is the 1/9 extra cost caused by the aforementioned service, the 1/9 implied before.
In fact, the defining relative clause makes the definite article very necessary: "that Anastasias had..." defines exactly which 1/9 is being talked about here, and so is a defining relative clause.
For those of you confused by "shillings", this is British pre-decimal currency. Before 1971, one pound was worth 20 shillings, and 20 shillings was worth 12 pence. "1/9" is shorthand for "one shilling and ninepence", and can be pronounced "one and nine".
Hi, heidita, rewboss, Anglika!!
Yes, yes, yes, your explanation makes sense!!
Thank you very much, and I wish you all a happy 2008.