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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avis View Post
    Worst of all, il n'y a pas de hors-texte

  2. #52
    a scream in a vortex nanook's Avatar
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    funny site, that explains, why you can't speak german. because you can't. i mean: it cant be done.

    (joking about english usage of "you" when you mean "anyone/everyone". we use a special word ("man") in that case)

  3. #53
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    I guess there's a difference in the passive voice in different languages. It has been a problem for me at times.

    For example, in Finnish, passive voice is expressed in verbs like "mennn", "hallitaan", "ksitelln" etc. They literally mean that undefined somebody verb undefined something, but they're being used in usual discourse also as an invitation to do something. "Mennn" is a compassionate "let's go", for example.

    Also, the passive voice is sometimes used instead of a personal voice, though it's a degradation of the language. "Hallitaan", although with unspecified subject and object, can also be interpreted as having the subject "we", so it becomes "we rule".

    I believe the passive voice construction can properly be supplemented with the supplemented by the subject via a specific method: in English, "The peasants were being ruled by the king", which doesn't have a good translation to Finnish, which would only have the equivalent of the expression "The king ruled the peasants".

    Uhh. Sorry if I'm being clueless, I just got mediocre grades from grammar in the school.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #54
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    Can someone explain when you put "a" before a noun, and when you put "the"?
    are there some clear rules?
    i do it by ear but often i miss it.

    i noticed Slavic people are more prone to leaving out "a" because we dont have such stuff, we dont have anything in front of nouns...

  5. #55
    Senior Member stigmatica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chloee View Post
    Can someone explain when you put "a" before a noun, and when you put "the"?
    are there some clear rules?
    i do it by ear but often i miss it.

    i noticed Slavic people are more prone to leaving out "a" because we dont have such stuff, we dont have anything in front of nouns...
    Well, this isn't official.. just me explaining how it works when I think about it.

    "A" is non-specific where "The" is specific.

    For example.. lets say you're in a store buying candy. You have a SPECIFIC candy bar selected, and placed on the counter in front of THE (note, this could be A or THE in this context, I use THE because the clerk is identifiable as the Clerk who specifically works in the store... but A would work too.) clerk. You want to know how much THE candy bar costs. You would ask.. "How much does THE candy bar cost"... because you are asking about the SPECIFIC candy bar you placed on the counter.

    For example.. lets say you're at THE same store (specifically, the store from the previous example, which is why I used THE this time to refer to the store). This time, you haven't picked out a candy bar yet, but you want to know how much a candy bar costs. You would ask "How much for A candy bar?", because you're not asking about a SPECIFIC candy bar.

    Edit: Note, even if you knew what specific brand of candy bar you wanted.. unless you're referring to a single candy bar of that brand, you would still use A not THE, because you don't have a specific individual candy bar of that brand in mind.

    Another example where confusion could occur if you used the wrong one. Lets say we're talking. You ask me: "How much does the candy bar cost?". If there's not a specific candy bar in your hand, or that you are pointing at.. I will be confused and ask "What candy bar?"... If you were to have asked "How much does A candy bar cost?" - I would not have been confused, and would have responded... "On average, about a dollar".

    Hope this helps

  6. #56
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    aha!! thanks.

    so if i look at the table and there's ONE candy bar I'll say to my sister "ey, give me that A candy bar?"

    hm? nah.

    basically what i am confused about the most is when you put "a" and when you leave it without anything.


    EDIT:
    give me the candy bar?
    give me that candy bar ?
    right?

  7. #57
    Senior Member stigmatica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chloee View Post
    aha!! thanks.

    so if i look at the table and there's ONE candy bar I'll say to my sister "ey, give me that A candy bar?"

    hm? nah.

    basically what i am confused about the most is when you put "a" and when you leave it without anything.


    EDIT:
    give me the candy bar?
    give me that candy bar ?
    right?
    Well, in your example above, you already referred to the candy bar with "THAT"... you don't refer to it twice. So that/this/the are interchangeable, but you don't use two at once.


    "ey, give me that candy bar?"
    "ey, give me the candy bar?"
    "ey, give me this candy bar?"

    would all work. (and all are used to refer to something specific)

    Edit: I don't think you EVER leave it without anything. Not if it's an improper noun (IE, not someones name or something). Wow.. English is more complicated than I thought. I don't actually think about all these rules.. I just talk

  8. #58
    Senior Member sofmarhof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stigmatica View Post
    Edit: I don't think you EVER leave it without anything. Not if it's an improper noun (IE, not someones name or something). Wow.. English is more complicated than I thought. I don't actually think about all these rules.. I just talk
    You don't use an article when you are referring to indefinite plural items.

    Singular----------Plural
    The candy bar---The candy bars
    A candy bar------Candy bars

    "The candy bar on the table looks yummy."
    "The candy bars on the table look yummy."
    "A candy bar would be good right now."
    "Candy bars are yummy."

    Basically, some languages (most, as far as I know) have a plural equivalent to the English "a", but English doesn't.

  9. #59
    Senior Member syndatha's Avatar
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    I find that it takes me longer to write in english than in norwegian. If I put a mask on, it's certainly unconsciously. But I suppose I miss out a bit on the nuances from time to time. And I probably use cliches more often than in norwegian, because I tend to pick up things intuitively. Much like children learning to speak their mother tongue, I suspect (being the mother of a 4 year old and a 16 months old.) It's probably easier for norwegians than it is for germans and french people, because hardly anything is dubbed over here. Thus, I hear english whenever I watch movies or forreign TV-shows. I use dictionary.com if I need to check my spelling.
    Feel free to correct me even so
    German is easier to learn than english because of it's similarities with norwegian, and because of it's regularity. But we hardly have any german shows, so what I learned in school has more or less faded away. I used to speak french fairly well too (well enough to get admitted to a french uni,) but since I never get to practice, it's way down in the unconscious again :steam:
    I have no sense of humour.

  10. #60
    Senior Member sofmarhof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by syndatha View Post
    I used to speak french fairly well too (well enough to get admitted to a french uni,) but since I never get to practice, it's way down in the unconscious again :steam:
    At least it should come back fairly easily if you do start practicing again.

    I felt like I was holding onto my French fairly well for more than a year of no practice, but now that I've been taking Italian for about six months it seems to have pushed all the French out of my mind (yet I still accidentally use French words in Italian class all the time). Need to practice again. I did recently look up lyrics to Brigitte Bardot songs as I listened, really the height of the French language.

    My high school French teacher was German, and for about two days he had him teach us a little bit of German. I suggested he teach us German in French, as in instead of using English to translate the German words, he would use French instead. That was fun. I wish I could do some more of that...

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