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For beginning learners: "A" vs. "THE" Options
TheParser
Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 6:40:24 PM
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Joined: 9/21/2012
Posts: 4,147
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NOT A TEACHER


Dear Beginning Learners:

Here is a true story. I hope that it will help you understand the difference between "a" (or "an") and "the."



A few years ago, I was walking down the street.

I passed a store that was run by some people who did not understand English very well.

Next to the door, there was a sign that said: "If you want to enter, ring a bell."


Of course, the writer should have used "the." ( = that bell next to the door)

The writer used "a," which meant that a person could ring any bell.




Have a nice day!
Audiendus
Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:37:44 PM
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Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Compare also:

There were cakes on the table, and I ate a lot of them.
There were cakes on the table, and I ate the lot of them.

We stopped work for the day.
We stopped work for a day.

We English are an old people.
We English are the old people.

He's the right one!
He's a right one! [= he is a stupid or odd person]

Give me half of the money now, and I'll have the rest tomorrow.
Give me half of the money now, and I'll have a rest tomorrow.
TheParser
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 7:50:29 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2012
Posts: 4,147
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Excellent examples.

Thanks for teaching me "He's a right one." I had never heard that before.



Have a nice day!
Audiendus
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 8:11:35 AM
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Joined: 8/24/2011
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Location: London, England, United Kingdom
TheParser wrote:
Thanks for teaching me "He's a right one." I had never heard that before.


Thanks. It is an informal British idiom. There is also a similar-looking idiom with a different meaning:

"A right one to..." (where right is ironic, meaning "inappropriate").

For example:
"He says you eat too much."
"Well, he's a right one to say that! He's a huge eater himself."
FROSTY X RIME
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 9:47:20 AM

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I never knew he is a right one means he is odd or stupid.
Good to learn~. The same goes to "he is a right one to say that'.
cheers, Audiendus, for sharing it with us.

What should be shall be-The fellowship of the ring-
TheParser
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:31:42 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2012
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FROSTY X RIME wrote:

cheers, Audiendus, for sharing it with us.



Hear! Hear!
Ashwin Joshi
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 1:17:12 PM

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Location: Jandiāla Guru, Punjab, India
Hi Teachers;
'Huge' is an adjective and eater is a verb. Do they fit?

Me Gathering Pebbles at The Seashore.-Aj
Audiendus
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 7:27:10 PM
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Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Ashwin Joshi wrote:
'Huge' is an adjective and eater is a verb. Do they fit?


"Eater" is a noun. "He is a huge eater" is equivalent to "He eats hugely".
coag
Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 4:58:25 AM

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Here is an example from the ESL perspective.

A couple of days ago I watched the video on this link. A book titled "Richard Nixon: The Life" was mentioned in the video. When the TV commentator referred to the book, he said: "Richard Nixon, a life". (You can hear this, starting at 0:41 into the video.)

It was interesting to me that he switched from "the" to "a". I wonder why he did that.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 6:58:47 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I don't have an answer for you coag - TV personalities, Pop singers, newspaper writers and copy-editors are a law unto themselves and invent sentence-forms as they wish . . .

I believe that "He's a right one!" is basically "He's a right Charlie!" - I've no evidence for this, but I've associated the two since I was a child, sixty years ago or so.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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