Look! They are sailing boats on a pond.

Is the indefinite article possible in this sentence?


It is possible but it is quite strange. The main reason for that is that in the context an indefinite article means you are surprised it is possible to sail boats on a pond. As opposed to just pointing out that someone is sailing on the pond you're pointing to.

Since the context shows you see the pond being mentioned you would expect a definite article. "Look! They are sailing boats on the pond."

A more focused example might be:

"Look! There's a kangaroo on the road!" Here you're pointing out that there is a kangaroo on the road. You're not surprised by the fact that a kangaroo could be on a road, but you feel it noteworthy there is one on the specific road you're looking at, maybe you need to swerve not to hit it.

"Look! There's a kangaroo on a bike!" Here you're surprised by the fact that a kangaroo can actually be on a bike. It's not that he's on the one in front of you the specific bike is an afterthought, the surprising fact is a kangaroo can ride a bike at all.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.