Scientific English as a Foreign Language
Answers to Lesson of October 3, 1997
I'm sure you know the meaning of "the". But its usage is slightly different than "le, la, les", or "der, die, das", or the equivalent in other languages. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, one uses "the" in the following ways:
1. Before singular or plural nouns and noun phrases that denote particular
specified people or things.
2. Before a singular noun, making it generic: 'the human arm.'
3. Before a noun, and generally stressed, emphasizing its uniqueness or prominence: 'That's THE show to see this year.'
4. Before a title of rank or office, designating its holder: 'The President arrives tomorrow.'
5. Before an adjective, extending it to signify a class and giving it the function of a noun: 'the rich, the beautiful'.
6. Before an adjective used absolutely: 'the finest we have to offer.'
7. Before a present participle, signifying the action in the abstract: 'the weaving of rugs'.
8. Before a noun, with the force of 'per': 'at a dollar the box'.
How would you fill in these blanks?....or would you?
1. The microscope in the corner is broken.
2. Optical microscopes have resolutions of about one micron.
3. The scanning probe microscope supercedes the optical limit.
4. Scanning probe microscopes can do better than that.
5. I haven't read such a good paper in a long time. It's the publication of the year.
6. Please have a look at the publication that appeared yesterday.
7. Please read publications.
8. President Badoux visited our lab yesterday.
9. The President visited our lab yesterday.
10. The educated are responsible voters.
11. Educated people are responsible voters.
12. It's the best work we can do.
13. Better work is impossible.
14. The imaging of surfaces at the nanometer scale is now possible.
15. We can make images of surfaces at the nanometer scale.
16. My consulting rates are $1000 the day.
17. My consulting rages are $1000 per day.
18. The day that I charge you less than that is the day that Hell freezes over.
There once was a girl named Irene,
who lived on distilled kerosene.
But she started absorbin'
A new hydrocarbon,
And since then has never benzene!
- K. Kiger
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Created May 6, 1998, by Nancy Burnham and Fred Hutson.