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    • Join Date: Dec 2005
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    #1

    Smile a or the

    My friend got there by subway.
    She got there by taking .... subway. The or a?

    Please write in pencil, not in ink. For writing instruments we use in.
    Can't we say with a pen? Or we must say in pen.

    We had a wonderful time - it was great seeing you again.
    Do we only use a gerund here? Can't we use an infinitive with to?
    It was great to see you again?
    Thanks

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    #2

    Re: a or the

    My friend got there by subway.
    She got there by taking .... subway. The or a? the
    Please write in pencil, not in ink. For writing instruments we use in.
    Can't we say with a pen? Or we must say in pen.
    Say 'with a pencil' or 'with a pen'. Strictly speaking, it is in 'graphite' since the writing material is carbon/graphite.

    We had a wonderful time - it was great seeing you again.
    Do we only use a gerund here? Can't we use an infinitive with to?
    It was great to see you again? Yes, you can. It is not like 'I look forward to....(gerund).

    not a teacher

  1. lucalita009's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Jul 2008
    • Posts: 104
    #3

    Re: a or the

    Quote Originally Posted by daisy1352 View Post
    My friend got there by subway.
    She got there by taking .... subway. The or a?

    Please write in pencil, not in ink. For writing instruments we use in.
    Can't we say with a pen? Or we must say in pen.

    We had a wonderful time - it was great seeing you again.
    Do we only use a gerund here? Can't we use an infinitive with to?
    It was great to see you again?
    Thanks
    We must say "write in pen or in pencil or in ink".It is a rule.
    We usually use : IT + BE+ADJ+ TO-VERB

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    #4

    Re: a or the

    We must say "write in pen or in pencil or in ink".It is a rule.
    Write in _____(writing material)
    Write with ______(writing instrument)

    But in the case of pencil, it's a bit tricky because it would be odd to say 'write in carbon'. So, it's 'write in pencil'.

    We'll let the teachers confirm.

    not a teacher

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    #5

    Re: a or the

    Any takers from the teachers?

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: a or the

    Quote Originally Posted by tedtmc View Post
    Any takers from the teachers?
    This is a case of taking rules too strictly. The logic is faulty.
    "For materials, we say "in".
    We say "write in pencil"
    Therefore, we say "write in pencil" because carbon/graphite is a material." - Perhaps
    Therefore, we must say "write in pencil" (Wrong)

    Generally, when we're using a material to create something, we use "in".
    A sculpture in stone; a painting in oils, watercolours; a drawing in pencil, crayons...
    But there's nothing wrong with "I'm drawing with crayons, I'm sculpting with a chisel, I'm painting by hand, I'm writing with a pencil."
    The reason the teacher says "Write in pencil" is that she wants pencil (carbon, graphite) marks on the page, not ink or any other substance. You could stick a pencil in a sausage roll and write with the sausage roll, but you'd still get pencil marks on the page, and that's what the teacher wants.
    Was that the question?

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    #7

    Re: a or the

    The reason the teacher says "Write in pencil" is that she wants pencil (carbon, graphite) marks on the page, not ink or any other substance.
    Raymott
    Do you say 'write in pen' then? Or 'write in ink'? Or both?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #8

    Re: a or the

    Either can be used. It is not an absolute rule as Raymott has indicated.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #9

    Re: a or the

    Quote Originally Posted by daisy1352 View Post
    My friend got there by subway.
    She got there by taking .... subway. The or a?
    All three are possible.

    by subway = general reference to the means of travel.
    by a subway = indicates that this was one of a number of possible means of travel.
    by the subway = specific reference to how she got from one place to another.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: a or the

    Quote Originally Posted by tedtmc View Post
    Raymott
    Do you say 'write in pen' then? Or 'write in ink'? Or both?
    On the few occasions where it would matter to me, I'd say:
    "Use a pencil/pen/crayon"
    "Answer the question in pencil, in case you want to change the answer"
    "Fill out the form with a pencil".
    There's lots of ways of saying it.

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