3

I know a rule:

I found a pen. The pen was broken.

When I introduce a pen, for the first time, it takes the indefinite article and once, it's introduced, I can proceed with the definite one.

Well, but while writing an essay on, say, on a student (any student), which article would go throughout the essay?

Example:

The two main entities of any classroom teaching are a student and a teacher. While a/the student serves as an audience, a/the teacher is a performer. Whenever a/the student asks a/the teacher on any subject, they are bound to answer.

Though I have introduced a student and a teacher, I don't want to get specific. Throughout the paragraph, I want to talk about any student, any teacher, randomly and not specific. Even further, what about the entire essay? Wherever I mention student/teacher which article should I put? Mind it, I don't want to be specific, each time I want to talk on random/any student/teacher.

Maybe, the last paragraph would be...

A/the student's performance depends on their own capabilities, learning curves, and top of all a/the teacher's support.

Now, that is the last paragraph...would 'a' work? I don't want the. Would it be incorrect?

2

Even if it's a non-specific, generic student/teacher you still use the because you're referring to the same student/teacher that you introduced earlier.

The two main entities of any classroom teaching is a student and a teacher. While a student serves as an audience, a teacher is a performer. Whenever a student asks a teacher on any subject, they are bound to answer.

In the above paragraph you introduce a student and a teacher, but then afterwards you aren't necessarily talking about the same student and teacher that you just introduced.

To make it clearer, if you attached names it would look something like this:

The two main entities of any classroom teaching are Andrew and Bertha. While Charlie serves as an audience, David is a performer. Whenever Earl asks Fred about any subject, they are bound to answer.

However, using the specifies that you're still talking about the same student and teacher you introduced at the start.

  • Your first and third paragraph in the answer is contradictory to each other. Specify it further. – Maulik V Jul 13 '18 at 8:57
  • The first paragraph is telling you what you should do. The third is an explanation of why the second paragraph is wrong. When you use a all the time, it doesn't tell us whether you are talking about 1 student and 1 teacher, 3 students and 3 teachers, or any combination of numbers. When you first introduce them with a, then refer to them again with the you specify that there is only 1 student and 1 teacher in your story, even though they are anonymous. – Omegastick Jul 13 '18 at 9:03
0

This would also be grammatical:

The two main entities of any classroom are student and teacher. The student serves as audience, the teacher as performer. The teacher is bound to answer whenever the student asks about any subject.

No article is needed when referring to the noun as role.

  • Note that bare role NPs are "invariably replaceable by their counterparts with determiner the" (p.409 in CGEL by Huddleston & Pullum, 2002). I.e., the sentence is equivalent to this one: The two main entities of any classroom are the student and (the) teacher. (Also, the conclusion stated in this answer applies only to NPs indicating a role, functioning as predicative complements to verbs be, become, etc.; as oblique predicatives governed by as, and as complement of the preposition of following nouns like role, part, or position.) – userr2684291 Jul 13 '18 at 12:33
  • I find your parenthetic remark unclear. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 13 '18 at 12:47
  • I apologize. "No article is needed when referring to the noun as role" is an overgeneralized conclusion. It's correct only when the noun in question indicates some kind of role (president, treasurer) and (1) functions as a predicative complement of the verb be, become, appoint, etc. (Henry became treasurer); or (2) if the said noun functions as predicative oblique governed by as (As treasurer, I strongly support this proposal); or (3) as a complement of of following nouns like role, part, or position (The role of treasurer will fall to Henry). – userr2684291 Jul 13 '18 at 13:14
  • @user2684291: Can you give me an example where noun-as-role requires an article? President is a powerful position. Does that require an article? It fails your tests (1), (2), and (3). – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 13 '18 at 13:28
  • How about Each position has different requirements. Goalie requires height and a wide wingspan, whereas striker requires speed and great ball-handling skills. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 13 '18 at 13:36

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