I was in my son's English class (beginner) and there was a picture of a lobsters on it. The teacher wanted the kids to form a correct sentence using 'lobster(s)'. A kid said:

"These are the lobsters."

Was it correct? I feel like it sounds a little bit off because I'd often hear:

"These are lobsters"

instead, unless it's:

"These are the lobsters that we caught this morning"

or something. I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to grammar, so I can only feel like it's off, but having no explanation whether or not it is wrong.

I'm not a native speaker, so kindly forgive me if my question is silly.

Thank you very much for your help!

  • Both sentences are perfectly grammatical—and acceptable barring any limitations. I would assume it would be a sentence given in response to something like Are those the lobsters? If the teacher wanted to specify a sentence that was appropriate to a given context (even if the context is a standalone sentence that doesn't require a previous statement), then the context should also have been provided. Note that even these are lobsters has no meaning unless it's clear that something is being referenced when the sentence is stated. Somebody suddenly shouting it out in a car would be strange. – Jason Bassford Dec 20 '18 at 16:10
  • Either one. No article when identifying the type of animal, a definite article when referring to the group of lobsters on the page. Using the usually implies a restricted group of objects. – user3169 Dec 21 '18 at 0:11

You are right.

These are lobsters.

is correct in this case.

The use of the definite article "the" would mean that you are talking about some specific lobsters, as you then describe in a later sentence:

These are the lobsters that we caught this morning.

Note that the original sentence could still be correct, but it does require some context, such as:

Where are the lobsters that we caught this morning?

These are the lobsters.

  • Thank you! But is "These are the lobsters." wrong, or is it acceptable? – Lyse Dec 20 '18 at 12:40
  • It is wrong in this context. It is not grammatically wrong though. – CinCout Dec 20 '18 at 12:48

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