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    #1

    Some Article Issue

    Please correct me regarding the two sentences numbered 1 and 2 below:

    1) What were you doing at the Mall yesterday? I was there to buy books (or the books) recommended by one of my professors.

    Does "recommended by one of my professors" make "books" definite in my response above?

    Can I still use "the books" when I meant all of the books recommended by that particular professor?


    2) Mary has denied a (the) claim by John that she did not come around yesterday for illness.

    Does "that she did not come around yesterday for illness" in sentence 2 make "claim" definite since it seems to define the claim by John?

    My confusion has arisen from the fact that when a noun is post-modified, the noun must be definite.

  1. #2

    Re: Some Article Issue

    As for the first sentence, it seems yes. Since the word "books" is followed by a relative clause then this makes it definite.
    (Correction: Sorry for the confusion, please see post 4 below https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/256369-post4.html )

    The second one however has two possibilities but with two different meanings:

    If you say "the claim", it is OK. The meaning here, or actually the emphasis, is on one defnite claim that John has made. If you say "the claim", I will uunderstand that he has made one claime and this one claim was made against Mary.

    If you say however "a claim", then it means that you are referring to "one of the claims" made by John. The article "a" is used sometimes to mean "one of...." Example: He is a son of Sarah. (As if you are saying that Sarah has other children)

    Again for sentence No 2, I feel that what determines whether "a" or "the" should be used is not in fact what comes after the claim. Rather, it is determined on what has come before the whole sentence.

    My feeling is that should sentence No 2 be preceeded by no other sentence, then it should have "a claim" rather than "the claim". As a matter of fact, "the" is usually used whenever the broader context shows that the conversation participants have already known that there is a claim before using sentence No 2.
    Last edited by Mohammed Abu Risha; 22-Feb-2008 at 01:40. Reason: Important correction

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    #3

    Re: Some Article Issue

    I am totally confused by Mohammed Abu's reply because it has been shared on this forum that relative clauses do not always make a noun definite.

    I found this sentence online: "I bought books recommended by my teacher.". No article "the". Back to my initial problem:

    Does it mean that each time a noun is qualified by a relative clause the noun must or seems to be definite?

    1) What were you doing at the Mall yesterday? I was there to buy books (or the books) recommended by one of my professors.

    Does "recommended by one of my professors" make "books" definite in my response above?

    Can I still use "the books" when I meant all of the books recommended by that particular professor?


    2) Mary has denied a (the) claim by John that she did not come around yesterday for illness.

    Does "that she did not come around yesterday for illness" in sentence 2 make "claim" definite since it seems to define the claim by John?

    My confusion has arisen from the fact that when a noun is post-modified, the noun must be definite.
    Last edited by kooiu; 21-Feb-2008 at 22:36.

  2. #4

    Re: Some Article Issue

    Yes, it seems you are right! Sorry for the consusion.

    "I bought books recommended by my teacher.".
    Let as assume for example that your teacher recommended: Book A, Book B, Book C, Book D, and Book E.

    You went to the shop and bought Book A, Book B, and Book C.

    Therefore you say that you bought "books recommended by the teacher". In other words you bought some of the books recommended by your teacher.



    1) What were you doing at the Mall yesterday? I was there to buy books (or the books) recommended by one of my professors.

    Does "recommended by one of my professors" make "books" definite in my response above?

    Can I still use "the books" when I meant all of the books recommended by that particular professor?
    Yes you can.
    Last edited by Mohammed Abu Risha; 22-Feb-2008 at 01:38.


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    #5

    Re: Some Article Issue

    Since there is a qualification "recommended by one of my professors", to me "the books" makes better logical sense, although "books" could also be used. The problem is the stand-alone sentence. Normally the context would direct you.

  3. #6

    Re: Some Article Issue

    By the way,

    Why don't we say "some books" instead of the odd-to-the-ear "books" if we want to mean "some of the books recommended by the professor"?


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    #7

    Re: Some Article Issue

    You can

    There is a slight difference. In one you are saying you will buy some books your teacher has mentioned; on the other you are saying you will only but some [but not all] of the books that your teacher has mentioned.

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    #8

    Re: Some Article Issue

    Thank you all for your excellent jobs on this site. Very useful.

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