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Old 08-18-2010, 02:52 AM   #256
TheIndependentAquarius
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Quote:
I guess that's the internet for you...
I didn't understand this statement of yours ! Kindly explain what you meant here.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 02:55 AM   #257
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I was pointing out the nature of the internet, in that it's very public and open. See, you read my other thread, and showed that here, thus giving a demonstration of that public nature.

More precisely, an "expanded" version of that sentence might be, "I guess that's how the internet works, you know...", or something like that.

Yeah, it's funny being a native English speaker and yet not being able to always precisely articulate the meaning behind certain wordings.

I'm sure someone else will come in with a more comprehensive explanation, if one is necessary.

Last edited by MrCode; 08-18-2010 at 02:59 AM.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 03:06 AM   #258
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I really felt bad for you after reading that thread of yours and your blog too.. somehow I feel that you are spoiling your present in thinking about all that. Why not live in the current moment and think how to make the best out of the it !

I am really sorry if I have spoiled your mood.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 03:11 AM   #259
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
Remove the "a".

Here, the term "good health" is thought of as an abstract state (being healthy) rather than as a physical thing (a place/room/something called a "good health").

It's nothing to do with it being an abstract state. There are abstract states that can be preceded by the article 'a':

Eg.
Give it a thought (thought is not a physical thing)
an abstract state (state here is not a physical thing)
etc.

The reason 'a' should be dropped here is that the noun 'health' in English is considered UNCOUNTABLE (it can NOT be counted as in one health, two healths, etc)
Other words like that would be: water, air, flour, furniture, advice, etc.

For that reason, you would NOT say: a water, an advice.
You'd say: a drop of water, a glass of water, a piece of advice, etc.

Last edited by sycamorex; 08-18-2010 at 03:13 AM.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 06:49 AM   #260
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But the reason that uncountable words are uncountable is typically that they are abstract. "Thought" is abstract; "a thought" is thought that has been particularized by content that is more or less concrete. "State" is abstract (as in: "this application holds state") but "an abstract state" is more concrete because it is narrowed down by its adjective, just as "the state" of something is concrete because it has been narrowed down by the range of conditions that such a thing can be in.
Why is it "philosophy of mind" but not "philosophy of the mind" if one of my favourite English poems starts with "Oh the mind, mind has mountains"? "Life in the twentieth century" but "The life of Brian"? Why is it "apples are good for you" or "I like dogs better than cats" although apples, cats and dogs are perfectly countable? Why are the people living next door "the neighbours" and those living two streets down plain "neighbours" (someone else's, of course, therefore not less countable but more abstract).
If I were to translate directly from my native Dutch, I would say "Philosophy of the mind", just as I would say "the life in the twentieth century". Yet I would use "mind" and "life" without an article in other contexts.
I think that abstraction is the more basic factor. As notions of concrete vs abstract differ from language to language ("Bread" in English, "brood" in Dutch, but "le pain" in French...), it is not surprising that many foreign learners have a hard time getting it right all the time (my experience is you need to immerse yourself in the language as logical thinking in terms of "countability" frequently leads to mistakes).

Last edited by jay73; 08-18-2010 at 07:02 AM.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 10:54 AM   #261
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Quote:
But the reason that uncountable words are uncountable is typically that they are abstract.
Fair enough, but as it doesn't hold true in 100% cases. We can argue all day about the levels of concreteness/abstractness of particular meanings, but the fact remains that not all abstract nouns are uncountable. Similarly, not all concrete nouns are countable.

Quote:
"Thought" is abstract; "a thought" is thought that has been particularized by content that is more or less concrete....
You're right that we perceive 'a thought' as something far more concrete than 'thought' in general, but it doesn't make 'a thought' a linguistically concrete noun. It's not something that we can hear/touch/see. It still remains an abstract noun.

Besides, I think I can safely assume that a learner who is not sure whether to put 'a' or not does not have your linguistic competence to apply their own judgment in such cases.

For thousands years languages across the world have been shaped by the culture, beliefs and other factors inherent to a given community. This resulted in a situation that the concepts present in two different languages can be totally different. For that reason, applying linguistic knowledge present in a learner's native language to test hypotheses about a target language is inevitable at the beginning, but ideally should be eradicated as soon as possible.
That's another reason why I think that learners should first learn the rules of a language in order to later understand and play with it.

Last edited by sycamorex; 08-18-2010 at 10:56 AM.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 01:06 PM   #262
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anishakaul
I am really sorry if I have spoiled your mood.
You didn't spoil my mood at all...I was just a little surprised that you had read about my little "predestination problem" and responded to it here. My response was basically saying that I shouldn't really have been so surprised, since after all, this is a public internet forum.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 05:27 PM   #263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
I was just a little surprised that you had read about my little "predestination problem" and responded to it here.
All good but let's try and keep that particular discussion from spilling over to other threads, TIA.
 
Old 08-18-2010, 06:12 PM   #264
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Agreed...so why don't you remove the link?
 
Old 08-21-2010, 01:29 PM   #265
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Quote:
I had once told my boss
Can two past tense words be used together ?

I think this will be more appropriate:
Quote:
I once told my boss
 
Old 08-21-2010, 01:46 PM   #266
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Hmmm..that's an interesting one. I personally would use the latter ("I once told my boss"), but I think the former is also acceptable. Or not, I don't know. I think the former is used more in casual conversation (grammar isn't always perfect then ), but the latter is probably better grammar.
 
Old 08-21-2010, 01:52 PM   #267
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
Or not, I don't know.
Thanks for bothering
May I ask "Is English your native language" ?
 
Old 08-21-2010, 01:55 PM   #268
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Quote:
May I ask "Is English your native language" ?
Yes, it is.

But it's not like I've taken any really advanced English classes or anything...mostly just what I've learned in school, and through experience.

Really though, I think "I once told my boss" sounds better.
 
Old 08-21-2010, 01:56 PM   #269
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Stictly "once" means "one time". Thus it most commonly refers to past events but can be used for present and future as in "I'm telling you once" and "I will tell you only once".

"I had once told my boss" means that previously to the past time being discussed I had told my boss once (and only once).

"I once told my boss" means just that. It happened some time in the past. Dropping the "had" takes away the sense of a past time being discussed. I think "had" makes the pluperfect -- describing actions in the past before the past.

"I had told my boss" means that previously to the past time being discussed I had told my boss (an unspecified number of times).
 
Old 08-21-2010, 02:08 PM   #270
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^^ Are you equally fluent in Hindi too ?

Last edited by TheIndependentAquarius; 08-21-2010 at 02:11 PM. Reason: typo
 
  


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