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  1. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
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    #41

    Re: Took the/a wrong bus

    Easter eggos? Happy times!

    b

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #42

    Re: Took the/a wrong bus

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    Talk about wrong turns! This thread sort of took one! Seems the/a bus ran over a lot of egos!
    Luckily, it only seems to have injured the big ones!

  3. Monticello's Avatar
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    #43

    Re: Took the/a wrong bus

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski
    Talk about wrong turns! This thread sort of took one! Seems the/a bus ran over a lot of egos!
    Hi Pedroski,

    As an outsider peeking into this thread, your humorous and pithy comment is on target. And perhaps this is just what's needed here to place the discussion back on track. (Am I mixing metaphors here, and in so doing opening up the possibility for a discussion about a/the wrong train??? )

    Given some of the contradictory advice that has been provided here within this thread by experienced English speakers, the thread's unresolved question remains:

    How may a foreign language student such as Snappy decide which advice for usage provided in this thread is practical?

    This post seeks to address this specific question.

    For the purpose of clarity, let's focus on just one of Snappy's questions here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy
    I must say thank you to those who gave me useful information, but I am still confused.

    Isn't it possible to use "a wrong ..." in the following cases, where "wrong" means "bad" rather than "unsuitable"?

    I had a wrong impression of her. (bad impression)
    I made a wrong decision. (bad decision)
    That is a wrong idea. (bad idea)
    Here, in post #8, Snappy asks specifically whether the word "wrong" means "bad" rather than "unsuitable" in each of the three example sentences supplied: "... a wrong impression," "... a wrong decision," and "... a wrong idea." Clearly, the word wrong does not necessarily carry the meaning that Snappy has asked about. Post #9 provides a detailed answer to this specific question.

    Further along in the thread, however, the following advice to this same question posed by Snappy was provided:

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia
    Indeed I have seen my Asian students write "a bad number" "a wrong bus" "another way" where we native speakers almost always say "the wrong...."

    So I think it best to enjoin our Asian friends learning English to avoid "a wrong such-and-such" in favour of "the wrong such-and-such."

    Therefore, you may regard these three as corrections of your three proposed sentences:

    I had the wrong impression of her. (a bad impression)
    I made the wrong decision. (a bad decision)
    That is the wrong idea. (a bad idea)
    From such advice, a foreign language student such as Snappy might come away with the understanding that the use of the indefinite article 'a' in any of the above three example noun phrases should be avoided, and that the definite article 'the' should be used instead. And the reasoning behind such advice? :

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia
    "... we native speakers almost always say "the wrong...."
    Foreign language students such as Snappy who are interested in exploring a wider view of English language usage surrounding the three example noun phrases in question would be well-served by reviewing the following links:
    a wrong impression (about 141,000 entries)
    a wrong decision (about 182,000 entries)
    a wrong idea (about 50,200 entries)
    Though Google is of course a search engine and not an authority on language usage, the number of entries returned for each of the above links clearly demonstrates a prevalence for the common usage of each phrase in question here.

    Concerning two other noun phrases in question within this thread -- a wrong bus, the wrong bus -- foreign language students such as Snappy who are interested in exploring a wider view of English language usage surrounding these two noun phrases would be well-served by reviewing these two links:
    a wrong bus (about 8,910 entries)
    the wrong bus (about 63,700 entries)
    Once again, Google is not represented here as an authority on language usage but as a means for demonstrating the prevalence of each of these two noun phrases throughout the English speaking world. Clearly, the number of entries returned by each of the above links demonstrates a prevalence of usage for each noun phrase.

    So to return to this post's prompting question:

    How may a foreign language student such as Snappy decide which advice for usage provided in this thread is practical?

    In regard to the prevalence of usage for each noun phrase in question, the data returned by each of the above links speaks for itself.

    In regard to the correct application of each noun phrase in context, foreign language students such as Snappy may now step through multiple examples provided by the links above -- each in its own context -- and then compare such usage -- in context --against the advice provided within this thread concerning contextual application.
    Last edited by Monticello; 13-Apr-2009 at 07:20.

  4. Monticello's Avatar
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    #44

    Re: Took the/a wrong bus

    So Snappy,

    Is there a moral to this story?

    Beware! Just look at what can happen when one boards a wrong bus.

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