the monkeys/ monkeys

asako87

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Japanese
Home Country
Japan
Current Location
Japan
Please tell me which sentence is correct between (1) and (2) in this dialogue? A: Did you see Matilda? B: (1)Yes, I saw her feeding the monkeys. / (2)Yes, I saw her feeding monkeys. If the meanings of (1) and (2) are different, I want to know the difference between (1) and (2).
 

teechar

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Iraq
Current Location
Iraq
Hello asako87, and welcome to the forum. :)
Please tell me which sentence is correct between (1) and (2) in this dialogue.
Both are possible. In #1, the reference is to a specific/known/previously mentioned monkeys. In #2, the reference is to any monkeys.
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Number 1 might be heard at an old-fashioned zoo that doesn't prohibit feeding its animals. Number 2 might occur in a place where monkeys are native, so Matilda could feed them anywhere.
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Number 1 might be heard at an old-fashioned zoo that doesn't prohibit feeding its animals. Number 2 might occur in a place where monkeys are native, so Matilda could feed them anywhere.

I should have added a bit more to my sentence about number 1. We would use the definite article there because we know that we're talking about specific monkeys: the ones in the monkey house.
 

asako87

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Japanese
Home Country
Japan
Current Location
Japan
Number 1 might be heard at an old-fashioned zoo that doesn't prohibit feeding its animals. Number 2 might occur in a place where monkeys are native, so Matilda could feed them anywhere.
If Mitilda is at an old fashioned zoo and I say "I saw her feeding monkeys", is it wrong?
 

Tarheel

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States

asako87

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Japanese
Home Country
Japan
Current Location
Japan
Thanks for your reply. You mean even though Matilda is at the old fashioned zoo, it's correct to say " I saw her feeding monkeys."?
 

asako87

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Japanese
Home Country
Japan
Current Location
Japan
Hello asako87, and welcome to the forum. :)

Both are possible. In #1, the reference is to a specific/known/previously mentioned monkeys. In #2, the reference is to any monkeys.
Does 'any monkeys' include a specific/known/previously mentioned monkeys?
 

Matthew Wai

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2013
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
I think 'any monkeys' may include specific/known/previously mentioned monkeys.
 

Tarheel

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Thanks for your reply. You mean even though Matilda is at an old fashioned zoo, it's correct to say " I saw her feeding monkeys."?

Sure. (I don't know what you mean by "old-fashioned zoo".)
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
See post #3, Tarheel.
 

Barb_D

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Once again, we need to talk about what is is "correct" (that is, a teacher could not mark it as "a wrong answer") and what is natural.

If the zoo allowed you to feed the monkeys, then you would say "... feeding the monkeys." To omit "the" would not be natural.
If monkeys were a native species, then you would say "... feeding some monkeys [in Duncan Park]." To omit "some" (or "few" or "a couple" or something similar) would be unnatural.

As a side note, "Have you seen" is also more likely as a general statement than "Did you see" - which suggests a specific point in time.
 

asako87

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Japanese
Home Country
Japan
Current Location
Japan
Sure. (I don't know what you mean by "old-fashioned zoo".)
I mean the zoo with the animals in the cages. Do you understand what I mean? I'm not good at English.
 

asako87

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Japanese
Home Country
Japan
Current Location
Japan
Once again, we need to talk about what is is "correct" (that is, a teacher could not mark it as "a wrong answer") and what is natural.

If the zoo allowed you to feed the monkeys, then you would say "... feeding the monkeys." To omit "the" would not be natural.
If monkeys were a native species, then you would say "... feeding some monkeys [in Duncan Park]." To omit "some" (or "few" or "a couple" or something similar) would be unnatural.


If you're a teacher and your students write "I saw Matilda feeding monkeys"(Monkeys are in the cage in the zoo and the zoo allowed to feed the monkeys), will you give your students the perfect score or the demerit mark?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

teechar

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Iraq
Current Location
Iraq
If you're a teacher and your students write "I saw Matilda feeding monkeys" (the monkeys are in [STRIKE]the[/STRIKE] a cage in the zoo, and the zoo allows [STRIKE]ed[/STRIKE] people to feed the monkeys), will you give your students [STRIKE]the[/STRIKE] a perfect score? [STRIKE]or the demerit mark?[/STRIKE]

No, I wouldn't. "... feed monkeys" (without "the") is not about a specific group of monkeys. That's clearly not the case here.
 

asako87

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Japanese
Home Country
Japan
Current Location
Japan
No, I wouldn't. "... feed monkeys" (without "the") is not about a specific group of monkeys. That's clearly not the case here.
Please excuse me I ask you too many questions. I want to know clearly. I will ask you three questions. 1.Do you mean I should not say "I saw Matilda feeding monkeys(without "the") when the monkeys are in a cage in the zoo? 2. If "I saw Matilda feeding monkeys(without "the")" is wrong, is it wrong gramatically or does it sound unnatural? 3. When the monkeys are in a cage in the zoo, English native speakers don't speak ".... food monkeys(without 'the")?
 
Top