Determiner

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jack

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Apr 24, 2004
Are these correct? What do these mean? How do I know if I need to use the determiner or not? Is 'high speed' countable? How do you know?
1. You need to slow down because you’re going at a high speed.
2. You need to slow down because you’re going at high speed.
3. You need to slow down because you’re going at high speeds.
 

Tdol

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2 would be the most common, but it can be used countably, so1&3 are possible. Some words can be used both ways. ;-)
 

jack

Senior Member
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Apr 24, 2004
So if it is uncountable, I don't need to use the determiner?
eg.
1. You need to slow down because you’re going at (a) high speed.

What about this?
2. You do want some peace of mind right?
3. You do want peace of mind right? (Is this correct? If not, why? How can I correct this without using 'some'?)
4. You do want a peace of mind right? (Incorrect? Saying you want the actual piece of mind?)
 
N

Nahualli

Guest
jack said:
So if it is uncountable, I don't need to use the determiner?
eg.
1. You need to slow down because you’re going at (a) high speed.

What about this?
2. You do want some peace of mind right?
3. You do want peace of mind right? (Is this correct? If not, why? How can I correct this without using 'some'?)
4. You do want a peace of mind right? (Incorrect? Saying you want the actual piece of mind?)

The only thing that concerns me about these sentences is that they're simply a bit awkward. "Going" is a really generic verb that can mean anything. Going at a high speed is a valid sentence but it's rarely used in that form colloquially. Most would simply plug in an adverb there and say "you need to slow down, you're going too fast."

This make sense at all? It's possible to go somewhere at a high speed but it's pretty uncommon to speak in such vague terms. If this is for a class exercise, please disregard this entire post. :(

-Nah-
 

jack

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Thanks.

http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?level=SK&id=794125
The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from (a) heat-related failure. (Isn't 'failure' a countable noun? How come there is no determiner?)

What do these mean?
1. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from a heat-related failure.
2. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from heat-related failure.
 

jack

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2004
Are these correct? What do these mean?
1. I want six slices of (the/an) apple. (How come this is correct without the determiner?)
2. I want six slices of apple.

3. I can do all sorts of things.
4. I can do all sorts of thing. (Why is this correct without the determiner?)

5. It functions as (a/the) modification. (Why isn't 'a/the' required? 'Modification' is not a count noun?)
 
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T

TheMadBaron

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1. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from a heat-related failure.
Using 'a' makes the word 'failure' refer to a specific incident, not to failure in general. It sounds okay in some contexts, but this isn't really one of them.

2. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from heat-related failure.
That's correct.

1a.
"I want six slices of an apple."
I want six slices of any apple.

1b.
"I want six slices of the apple".
I want six slices of a specific apple.

Both are grammatically correct, but they sound a bit unusual.... particularly the first one. You'd normally just say....

2) "I want six slices of apple."

3)
I can do all sorts of things.
Correct. It means you can do many things. For example, you can probably walk, talk, rub your head and pat your stomach. Maybe even at the same time.

4)
I can do all sorts of thing. (Why is this correct without the determiner?)
It's not correct, with or without the determiner. The sentence refers to things, plural, and requires the 's'.

5)
It functions as (a/the) modification. (Why isn't 'a/the' required? 'Modification' is not a count noun?)
It's both countable and uncountable, I guess. Like pizza. (Only, not as tasty.)

So if it is uncountable, I don't need to use the determiner?
That's right. For example, you would say 'a glass of water', or 'a bowl of water', but not 'a water'. Glasses and bowls are countable. Water is not.
 
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jack

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Apr 24, 2004
Thanks.
1. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from a heat-related failure.
Using 'a' makes the word 'failure' refer to a specific incident, not to failure in general. It sounds okay in some contexts, but this isn't really one of them.
What about this?
1. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from
heat-related failures. (Is 'failures' in general now? Or does it mean different kinds of failures?)

2. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from
heat-related failure. (So when I use this without a determiner, does it mean 'failure' is not countable?)

That's right. For example, you would say 'a glass of water', or 'a bowl of water', but not 'a water'. Glasses and bowls are countable. Water is not.
I want six slices of apple.

I still don't get this one. Why is this correct without the determiner? 'Apple' is countable? So when I don't use the determiner, does it mean it is not countable and 'apples' in general?)

http://www.monstercable.com/productPage.asp?pin=281
3. You can maximize your system performance with (a/the) Monster cable. (Is 'a/the' omitted here? If so, how do I know if it is 'a' or 'the' or none of the two? Which makes 'cable' uncountable?
 
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TheMadBaron

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jack said:
Thanks.What about this?
1. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from
heat-related failures. (Is 'failures' in general now? Or does it mean different kinds of failures?)
It means heat-related failures in general, which could include different kinds of heat-related failure.

2. The 80mm-diameter SmartCool case fan cools and protects your PC from heat-related failure. (So when I use this without a determiner, does it mean 'failure' is not countable?)
Yes.

I want six slices of apple.
I still don't get this one. Why is this correct without the determiner? 'Apple' is countable? So when I don't use the determiner, does it mean it is not countable and 'apples' in general?)
Apple in general.... we're not really talking about green and red round objects that grow on trees anymore.... we're talking about apple flesh.

Consider this.... we keep (live) chickens, but we eat chicken.

Fruits, (and most other foods) can be countable and uncountable, depending on context.
https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8662

It all depends on whether you're dealing with complete units or not. This will sound strange, but it may help, if you think about it.... you can cut apples up to make apple, and you can cut chickens up to make chicken. Conversely, you can cut up cable to make cables....

http://www.monstercable.com/productPage.asp?pin=281
3. You can maximize your system performance with (a/the) Monster cable. (Is 'a/the' omitted here? If so, how do I know if it is 'a' or 'the' or none of the two? Which makes 'cable' uncountable?
It's not necessary to include a/the. Cable can be both countable and uncountable, so they all make sense (but have subtly different meanings).

Supposing I was advertising Baron cables, which are for connecting jack flanges to norabs. I could tell you that you can improve your system with a Baron cable. However, for all I know, you might have a really big system, with several jack flanges, so maybe I should tell you that you can improve your system with Baron cables. Then again, you might only be able to afford one Baron cable, and I don't want to give you the impression that you need more than one in order to improve your system performance.... :-?
Maybe I'd better just tell you that you can improve your system performance with Baron cable. :-D

Cable - uncountable - There is a big roll of Baron cable at a hardware supply store. (You could count that as being one very big cable, I guess, but it's not much use as a cable yet, unless your jack flange is an awfully long way from your norab....)

Cable - countable or uncountable - You enter the store and ask the man at the counter for three Baron cables of a particular length. The man cuts these lengths of cable from the roll, and you buy them. It's true that you now have cable, but you also have three cables.

Cable - countable - once you've attached flange plugs to them, and plugged them in to your norabs, they're definitely starting to be more like cables than cable....

I hope this helps..... :-|
 
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jack

Senior Member
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Apr 24, 2004
Supposing I was advertising Baron cables, which are for connecting jack flanges to norabs. I could tell you that you can improve your system with a Baron cable. However, for all I know, you might have a really big system, with several jack flanges, so maybe I should tell you that you can improve your system with Baron cables. Then again, you might only be able to afford one Baron cable, and I don't want to give you the impression that you need more than one in order to improve your system performance.... :-?
Maybe I'd better just tell you that you can improve your system performance with Baron cable. :-D
Thank you very much. This is very helpful.

What about this?
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=15797&dict=CALD
So 'computer' can be uncountable? What would that mean then?

1. We've put all our records on (a/the) computer. (What about here? What does it mean without the determiner? Also, how come I don't have to use the determiner?)

2. They stayed with us for a short time. (Is 'time' countable? How come I need 'a' here?)
 
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TheMadBaron

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jack said:
No, I don't think so....
"I like eating apple" is okay.
"I must buy some cable" is okay.
"I want to use computer" is wrong.

1. We've put all our records on (a/the) computer. (What about here? What does it mean without the determiner? Also, how come I don't have to use the determiner?)
We sometimes omit it for convenience. Consider the following example....

I work for a small company. A colleague and I decided to computerise many of the documents required for our work. We have divided the work between us, and we have used our home computers, in our spare time. We have computerised so many documents that we can't always remember which one of us has which documents. There are still some documents we haven't computerised yet.

Supposing our boss were to ask me if we had copies of some particular documents. I know that we have copied these documents, but I don't know, offhand, which of us has which documents. So I say "we have them on computer."

I don't say "the computer", because there is more than one computer in this situation. (My boss would assume that 'the computer' meant the work computer, which is not the case.)

I don't say "a computer", because some of the documents might be on my computer, and some of them might be on my colleagues computer.

I don't say 'computers', because the documents might all be on my computer.

What should I say to my boss? "We have the documents. They are either on my computer, on Arthur's computer, or some of the documents might be on my computer, whereas others might be on Arthur's computer, but we definitely have all the documents, whether on one computer or the other."

No. My boss is a very busy lady. She doesn't care which computer (or computers) the documents are on, and she doesn't have time to listen to me rambling like this.

I can just say "We have them on computer."

Even if I knew, for a fact, that all the documents are on my computer, it isn't necessary to say so.

2. They stayed with us for a short time. (Is 'time' countable? How come I need 'a' here?)
You ask some very interesting questions, Jack....
I think I'll let somebody else answer this one. :-?
 
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jack

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Joined
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Thanks.

1. She doesn't care which computer (or computers) the documents are on. (So 'computer' here is uncountable right?)
 
T

TheMadBaron

Guest
Wrong. I think the noun 'computer' is always countable, as is 'file'. 'On computer' and 'on file' are idiomatic.
 
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Casiopea

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jack said:
2. They stayed with us for a short time. (Is 'time' countable? How come I need 'a' here?
a time is shortened from a period of time, and a short time is shortened from a short period of time. 'period of' has been omitted. :cool:

It's 'period' that's countable; the determiner 'a' modifies 'period'; and the adjective 'short' modifies 'period'.

EX: a short period of time.
 

jack

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2004
Thanks.

I can just say "We have them on computer."
1. We have them on computer. (So 'on computer' is idiomatic?)

We sometimes omit it for convenience.
We've put all our records on computer.
2. So is 'computer' uncountable here?

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=%22some+kind+of+joke%22&meta=
Are these correct? What do they mean?
3. Some kind of joke. (If this is correct, why? Isn't 'joke' countable?)
4. Some kind of a joke.

You can maximize your system performance with Monster program.
5. So 'program' is uncountable here right?

What about this?
6. Do you have any program. (So can 'program' be uncountable here? If not, why? #5 can be uncountable? Is it because 'any' is plural so 'program' needs to be plural as well?)
 
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Casiopea

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1. It's not idiomatic. 'computer' refers to a medium; e.g., on tape, on paper, on TV; 2. same as 1.; 3. correct; 4. correct; 5. It's a name. It should be capitalized: Monster Program; 6. It means, any one program.:cool:
 

jack

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2004
'computer' refers to a medium
1. We have them on computer. (We don't have a determiner here because it refers to a medium? So 'computer' is not countable here? Why is it not countable?)

What do these mean?
2. We have them on computer.
3. We have them on a computer.
4. We have them on computers.

Are these correct? What do they mean?
5. Why is it not countable?
6. Why it is not countable? (This should be a satement right? For eg. : This is why it is not countable.

Are these correct?
7. Why isn't it countable?
8. Why is not it countable? (Is this correct? It sounds really odd? If it is not correct, how do I fix it?)
 

Casiopea

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1. I believe it's because 'on computer' refers to a general location;e.g, on file 2.; 3. one computer; 4. more than one computer; 7. OK; 8. 'not' modifies 'is', so it should be placed before 'is'.:)
 

jack

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Apr 24, 2004
7. OK; 8. 'not' modifies 'is', so it should be placed before 'is'.
Is this how the question looks like:
1. Why is it not countable?

Are these correct?
7. Why isn't it countable?
8. Isn't=Is not
9. Why is not it countable? (How come #7 is correct but #9 is wrong?)

1. I believe it's because 'on computer' refers to a general location;e.g, on file
10. You can go to customer service and ask for it. (Is this correct? If not, why? How come 'on computer' is correct but this is not?)
11. You can go the customer service and ask for it.
12. You can go to Customer Service and ask for it. ('customer service' is a name, so I don't need to use a determiner here right?)
 
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Casiopea

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jack said:
Is this how the question looks like:
1. Why is it not countable?
Try, Is this how the question should look? or Is this what the question should look like?

jack said:
Are these correct?
7. Why isn't it countable?
8. Isn't=Is not
9. Why is not it countable? (How come #7 is correct but #9 is wrong?)

9. is incorrect. Here's why:

Question Formation
Statement: It is not countable.
Add WH-word: Why it is not countable.
Subject-Verb Inversion: Why is it not countable.

Notice that 'not' doesn't change its position.

jack said:
10. You can go to customer service and ask for it. (Is this correct? If not, why? How come 'on computer' is correct but this is not?)
11. You can go the customer service and ask for it.
12. You can go to Customer Service and ask for it. ('customer service' is a name, so I don't need to use a determiner here right?)
11. is incorrect. If you're going to use 'the', then you're going to have to make customer service specific, like this, the customer service desk.
 
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