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Inspired Scribe
Jules934
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

I think you have something there -- As in "Cool weather is exhillerating." but "This cool weather we're having today made me turn the thermostat up."  The 1st usage is abstract while the 2nd is specific. 

 

I'll bet that's it.

 

Nothing like some questions from folks trying to get a grip on this language to really wring out your brain.

 

Thanks.

Inspired Wordsmith
Kreacherteacher
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

I can see Psychee's line of thinking, but you can use articles before abstract nouns. For example, I could say, "The love I have for my husband is priceless." Or I could say, "A belief in one religion is supreme to a belief in no religion." I'm just using that last sentence as an example - I do not actually believe that. You can use "the" prior to an abstract noun if it is followed by a prepositional phrase starting with "of". For example - "The happiness of the people depends upon the system of government", but the sentence you use above does not have this preposition. There are so many goofy rules in English so check out this website if you are interested.

 

Another resource I use from time to time is Grammar Girl, though I could not find info on this particular issue. Her name is Mignon Fogerty and she has a wealth of knowledge on her website and she even has podcasts, so she may have info related to other issues that pop up for you.

Inspired Bibliophile
Psychee
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Registered: ‎04-17-2007

Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

Yes, I can see that I was dead wrong!  :smileyhappy:  Thanks for the sources, KT.

 

In that first link you gave, way down at the bottom, it talks about "zero article" nouns.  "Non-count" nouns can go without an article.  Is "Happiness" a non-count noun?  Can a noun be both "non-count" and "abstract" ? 

 

Frankly, it seems pretty confusing when you get down to trying to explain it to someone.  It almost seems as though we all just naturally use or don't use articles, and the rules were written after-the-fact.   That is no help to someone who is trying to learn the language!

Inspired Wordsmith
Kreacherteacher
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Registered: ‎07-24-2007

Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

[ Edited ]

You're right. I think it's so difficult for ESL students, as well as some first language learners, because English is such a "fluid" language, meaning it constantly changes. We borrow from many different languages to begin with and our language continues to change over time and will always change. That may be why it seems as though many rules were written after the fact. Many "new" words are added to our lexicon year after year. I don't mind change, but many old-fashioned grammarians hate it and continue to teach as if the rules never change.

 

Non-count nouns can be both concrete and abstract. For example, water is a concrete noun, but it is also non-count noun. Patience, however, is non-count and abstract. You can see someone losing their patience, but it is still non-count, and you can use "the" (indefinite article) or a quantifier in front of it. The patience of my mother is dwindling. Some patience is necessary. "A" and "An" are only used with count nouns.

 

Check out how our language is changing with the following usage. Since the invention of water bottles, I can say when ordering items for lunch, "I would like a water", which implies that I would like a water bottle. Prior to the invention of water bottles I would never have said that. In that case, you can see a non count noun being used with a definite article which is typically a big no-no. This is casual usage, of course, but you can see how traditionalists might lose their minds. The water bottle idea came from another great resource - Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)

 

Kind of related...I saw a few years ago where there were some people who believed that articles should be their own part of speech. What do you guys think?

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Psychee
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

Kreacherteacher wrote:

 

Kind of related...I saw a few years ago where there were some people who believed that articles should be their own part of speech. What do you guys think?

Show you how much I know -- I thought they already were!   I never thought of them as adjectives, but I'm now guessing that they are?  :smileyhappy:

 

I am particularly impressed at how many Chinese people can fluently speak English.  I don't know much about their language(s), but it seems to me that everything about it is different from ours -- starting with the alphabet itself.   I know children in China all take English as a required course from early grades on, and perhaps it is easier when you start that young, but still -- it seems to me that the task is a formidable one.

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TiggerBear
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

 

Psychee wrote:

Kreacherteacher wrote:

 

Kind of related...I saw a few years ago where there were some people who believed that articles should be their own part of speech. What do you guys think?

Show you how much I know -- I thought they already were!   I never thought of them as adjectives, but I'm now guessing that they are?  :smileyhappy:

 

I am particularly impressed at how many Chinese people can fluently speak English.  I don't know much about their language(s), but it seems to me that everything about it is different from ours -- starting with the alphabet itself.   I know children in China all take English as a required course from early grades on, and perhaps it is easier when you start that young, but still -- it seems to me that the task is a formidable one.

 

 

I think it's amazing anyone ever learns to read Chinese, over 700 commonly used characters, yikes!

 

But yes the early brain learns language easier, any language.

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Jules934
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

First, let me correct that preposition-ending sentence..This cool weather we're having today made me turn up the thermostat. ...  Altho I do agree with Churchill, who, having been corrected for that error by a young editor, is reported to have said "This is something up with which I will not put!", or words to that effect.

 

Thank you for your indulgence. (bows)

 

Those are wonderful sites, KreatureTeacher.  Thank you.  Answers for not only my original conundrum, but also "which vs. that"!!!

 

Psychee, I was taught that the Articles were their own part of speech, even learned a verse back in 3rd grade --"The Articles are "a", "an", 'the".  The point out nouns, "a boy", "the man."  What else would anyone ever want/need to know?

 

I've done my share of tech writing, and having corrections earnestly explained by those of the "younger generation" Argggugh!  But they are not as bad as the ones who say --"I don't bother with that stuff, its (sic) to (sic) complicated.  Everyone knows what I mean anyway."  And, if anyone's got one going, I would happily join the crusade against the evil "alot".  But I cast my vote for "the singular they".

 

Getting the complexities of this language across to "native speakers" is difficult enough, but when it's an English Learning situation, you're trying to explain the language to someone who doesn't have full comprehension of the language that the explanation is taking place in.  That in addition to explaining something you take for granted.  It's a challenge.

 

Great material.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

  

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Jules934
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

Psychee wrote IN PART:

Yes, I can see that I was dead wrong!  :smileyhappy:  Thanks for the sources, KT. 

I don't think so -- To me, when you qualify/modify an abstract  noun -- "love is wonderful" vs "the love of a good books is wonderful" -- it moves from the totally abstract to the specific, and the article appears to prove it.  Besides that, you wouldn't say "the love is wonderful" with the article inless it had been modified somewhere nearby. 

 

I know that there is room for discussion on my point.............LoL

 

 

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Jules934
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

An interesting (to me, anyway) question arose about some of JKR'scharacters.  In OotP we have, the frog-like man that appears in the unremovable (!) portrait in the office of The Other Minister and the frog-like Doris Umbridge.  Add Trevor to those two, altho he is a toad.  What do toads & frogs mean to JKR?   

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Kreacherteacher
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

Jules934 wrote:

An interesting (to me, anyway) question arose about some of JKR'scharacters.  In OotP we have, the frog-like man that appears in the unremovable (!) portrait in the office of The Other Minister and the frog-like Doris Umbridge.  Add Trevor to those two, altho he is a toad.  What do toads & frogs mean to JKR?   

 

Because she also has good things with toads and frogs in the book, sweets such as chocolate frogs and peppermint toads, I'd argue there isn't much to it besides just a descriptive tool.

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Jules934
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

[ Edited ]

Forgot about the Choc frogs and pepp'mint toads, and toads were one of the approved pets.  And those references to frog-spawn... S'times she says DU looks like a frog, s'times like a toad.  And there is a connection between toads/magic & witchcratf.

 

You never know about her, tho.  Maybe she had a bad case of warts once, or got sick disecting a frog in biology class.  :smileysurprised:

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Psychee
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

[ Edited ]

Frog picture 

 

Right handsome, isn't he? :smileyhappy:

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Jules934
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

I think you caught him at his bad angle.

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Psychee
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

That's probably what Umbridge says whenever the Daily Prophet posts pictures of her as well.

 

Maybe a black velvet bow on his head would help?  :smileyhappy:

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Kreacherteacher
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

If only I had photoshop.

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TiggerBear
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

 

Jules934 wrote:

 

 

You never know about her, tho.  Maybe she had a bad case of warts once, or got sick disecting a frog in biology class.  :smileysurprised:

 

 

You can not get warts from frogs or toads. They don't carry that virus. You can get salmonella thou, just like from reptiles and birds. Wash you hands after playing with them and you will be fine.

 

Those bumps on frogs and toads are just like your skin pores.

 

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TiggerBear
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

 

Psychee wrote:

Frog picture 

 

Right handsome, isn't he? :smileyhappy:

 

I think he's cute.

 

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Psychee
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

He's been waiting on the internet for someone to say that, TB.  Now kiss him -- maybe he'll turn into a prince!   No need to tell your hubby, though!  :smileyhappy:

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Kreacherteacher
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

All I can think of is Star Wars when I see the little dude. He looks like Jabba the Hut without all the goo around his nose. :-)

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Psychee
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Re: OFF TOPIC Cafe: No Floats

Yes -- nice resemblance to old Jabba!  I wouldn't want to kiss him, either!