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  1. Graver's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • Polish
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      • Poland
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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 64
    #1

    Which one is correct?

    When I can afford the time off work and study

    or

    When I can afford time off work and study- no article?

    and BTW is this sentence grammatically correct:

    "When I can afford (the) time off work and study I'll make it a point to..." ???

    Thanks for your help


    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 25
    #2

    Re: Which one is correct?

    Good question! I'm not an expert, but this is what I think the answer is...


    I think the second sentence is the correct one:

    When I can afford time off work and study....

    The reason for this is that uncountable nouns don't need an article (a/an/the). It's called a "zero article."

    For example:
    A. He picked up a stone.
    B. The wall's made of stone.

    C. This is the third time I told you that!
    D. We don't have time to eat.

    As you can see, some nouns have both countable and uncountable uses. But if you are using it as an uncountable (as in example B and D) you don't need the article "the." (So B and D is an example of a zero article).


    Your example sentence looks good. This is how I would write it:

    When I can afford time off work and study, I'll make it a point to...

  2. Graver's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Which one is correct?

    Thanks!!!

    Your explanation helped me a lot understand the "nature" of the zero article

    Take care

    Graver

  3. Graver's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Which one is correct?

    Hey! Wait a sec!
    There's something that caught my attention in your post!

    Is it possible to say:

    "This is the third time I TOLD you that" instead of "the more usual" "... first/second/third time I HAVE told you that" ???

    I've always been taught that whenever we have a construction like the one you presented above: "the first/second/third etc. time" we must use the present perfect simple tense... are there any exceptions to that rule then?

    I'd appreciate any comment on that


    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 80
    #5

    Re: the third time I have told vs. the third time I told

    "This is the third time I TOLD you that" instead of "the more usual" "... first/second/third time I HAVE told you that" ???

    Grammar books generally tell you to use the present perfect here. Yes, native (American) speakers very often use the simple past. I would use the present perfect.

  4. Graver's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Which one is correct?

    Thank you ever so much!
    Is it sensible to follow anything that grammar books tell us then?
    After all, as you say, native Americans would use the past simple form in this context so why bother with this Pr. Perf. "thing"?

    just kidding...

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