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I want to ask a friend for a video of her daughter's birthday, so what should I put after demand below?

  1. I demand the video of this birthday.
  2. I demand video of this birthday.
  3. I demand a video of this birthday.

Which of these versions is correct?

I am using demand in a joking manner.

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    This question appears to be off-topic because OP has implicitly answered his own question in the first sentence (by saying that what he wants is a video, rather than the video or just plain video). The jocular use of demand is irrelevant. – FumbleFingers Dec 26 '13 at 20:12
  • If you want to remain friends, you'd probably rather use more polite words than demand when you request the video from her. – The Photon Dec 27 '13 at 2:33
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  1. Use the if you know that one video of the birthday exists, or that there are plans to create such a video, and that your friend knows about it too. This is the core use of the—to designate something known to both the speaker and hearer. If there are two or more such videos you may use the if you specify which one you are demanding:

    I demand the birthday video your girlfriend created.

    You may also use the to demand all the raw video footage of the birthday, so long as both you and your friend know that such footage exists.

  2. Use a if you don't know that a video of the birthday exists; or if you know two or more exist and you don't care which you get so long as you get one of them; or if you earnestly desire that such a video be shot and edited.

  3. Use the ‘null-determiner’ (∅, no article) if what you want is some raw video footage of the birthday, but not necessarily all that is available. Perhaps you only want a few seconds to incorporate in another video piece.

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Demand is a really strong word.

I would say "I demand the video (recording) of this birthday (celebration)." Or "I demand a copy of the video (recording) of this birthday (celebration."

However, if it's a close friend and it's all friendly and stuff, I probably wouldn't use "demand", unless it's in a joking situation.

  • yes actually I am using it in joking manner :) – Just_another_developer Dec 26 '13 at 18:10
  • How will your friend know you are joking? This is usually accomplished by making your "consequences" a little bit absurd: "I demand you turn over a copy of <daughter's name>'s birthday party video or else I shall be forced to take the matter up with BVP (Birthday Video Police) and you know you don't want that. – Jim Dec 26 '13 at 18:31
  • @Jim What I meant of a joking situation would be something such as a funny incident happening during the party and the other person managed to film a video of it, then I would go "I demand the video of this (so I can keep it/ post it online)." – Eugene T Dec 27 '13 at 3:57
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If you want to use the idea of demand in a joking matter, it is better to phrase it as "If you don't give me the video, then (consequence)." This is how friends might more realistically joke with each other.

Or even better, "You had better give me that video."

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As @EugeneT says, demand is a very strong word; generally it would only be used in a negotiation between neutral-to-hostile parties. (When two warring countries sit down to negotiate a cease-fire, for example, they might each bring a list of things they will demand as part of the settlement.)

If you are making a demand, generally there is an implied (or explicit) ultimatum behind it: "You give me what I demand, or else I will cause some unpleasant consequence!"

So you probably want to use a friendlier phrasing most of the time, and especially in this situation. Some suggestions:

I need to get a copy of the birthday video from you.

Can you send me a copy of the birthday video?

Please send me a copy of the birthday video.

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