FW: Freshman Use of Articles

Ruth Barton mrgjb at SOVER.NET
Mon May 20 03:41:34 UTC 2002

I think it's just the way British English is different from American
English, Britts never use "the" and we do.  I say "he went to the
hospital."  My British friends say, "he went to hospital."  I don't know
that either is correct or incorrect, just different.  Ruth

At 3:39 PM -0400 4/16/02, Johnson, Ellen wrote:
>re-sending, since the highlighting didn't come thru...
>got this message from a colleague who is a native speaker of British
>English.  what do y'all think?  Ellen
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Smith, Alvin
>Sent: Saturday, April 13, 2002 2:04 PM
>To: Johnson, Ellen
>Subject: Freshman Use of Articles
>Ellen--I've been pondering this linguistic phenomenon among our Berry
>students since I came here and now I can say for certain that their use of
>the definite article conflicts with mine!
>Here's one student's opening paragraph of the recent comp exam. I've
>bolded the uses of the definite article that I would deem a violation of
>(traditional) usage. Let me know what you think.
>"Fuel efficiency throughout the United States, and throughout the world as
>well, is becoming a major issue in today's society. **The** citizens are
>not taking into consideration what they are actually doing to the planet,
>or they might not even know that technically they could be putting
>themselves in danger in the long run. New things are being introduced in
>Washington, DC and bills are being passed to help **the** consumers
>understand exactly what is going on that could possibly be detrimental.
>Raising fuel efficiency would be very important, especially for Sport
>Utility Vehicles and Trucks, becuase it will limit **the** foreign oil
>intake, help **the** consumers save money while pumping their own gas, and
>also to help reduce global warming."
>The concept at issue is, of course, the notion of what constitutes
>definiteness. In British English, for example, we would never talk about
>"the society" for a general concept especially is if it is used as a mass
>noun to boot. General categories never take a definite article in British
>English. If we mean "people in general"--even within our own society--we
>would never say "the people."
>Is this a generational change, I wonder?

Ruth Barton
mrgjb at sover.net
Westminster, VT

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