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I was looking at the definition of definite article and it reads like this - "The definite article is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular".

Since this definition is generally​ true so can we say that the definition can also be like this with no change in meaning-

1) The definite article is used before 'the' singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular.

2) The definite article is used before singular and plural nouns when 'a' noun is specific or particular.

3) The definite article is used before singular and plural nouns when the nouns are specific or particular.

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    Number 2 and 3 are OK, number 1 is not right. Number 1, if you really wanted to shorten it, should read: "The definite article is used before the singular and plural nouns that are specific or particular." – Teacher KSHuang Apr 13 '17 at 12:11
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    I would define it thus: 'The definite article "the" marks a noun as definite. It typically functions in NP structure with the sole meaning of indicating that the head is sufficient in the context to identify the referent. When I ask Where's the car?, I assume you know which car I'm referring to'. – BillJ Apr 13 '17 at 12:15
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In 1), "singular and plural nouns" is a general case, not a specific set of nouns that are being referenced in exclusion to others.

Likewise, 2) would be incorrect because changing "when the noun" to "when a noun" would broaden the scope of the condition from the exemplified specific/particular noun to any noun.

3) is a bit tricky. The rewording to "when the nouns are" could be read as a subset of the total group, which might be fine. Or, it could be interpreted as referring to the entirety of the subject (all singular and plural nouns) with the qualification that each must be specific or particular, which would be incorrect on my opinion.

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