1. Draw an 8.
  2. Draw 8.

What does each imply, and what are the differences between the two?

  • The title, "The number/number/a number" what does it mean? – XPMai Apr 18 '15 at 7:11
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    It is unrelated to your question, but I will point out that it should be "Draw an 8", rather than "draw a 8". Since 8 starts with a vowel sound "ay". – DJMcMayhem Apr 18 '15 at 7:36

The difference is that one would not say #2. . .

unless it was already understood that it was some kind of card game in which one might draw eight cards. How many cards do I draw? Draw eight. Or, perhaps in kindergarten: How many squares did you want me to draw? Draw eight.

Your sentence #1 asks the hearer to draw a "figure-eight"; i.e., the numeral "8".

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    Thank you very much, Brian. Then, can you explain why, when talking about numbers on a calculator, would you say, "press 8" instead of "press an 8" or even, "press the 8"? – Joe Kim Apr 18 '15 at 19:40
  • I don't know. Maybe just because it's shorter to say and there's no chance of confusion. – Brian Hitchcock Apr 19 '15 at 6:33
  • Thank you again. If it is the matter of confusion, let's just assume now that that's what it is, why a frige at home, which usually holds one frige, is called with "the" all the time? Put it in the frige. Would it be confusing if I say, "put it in frige"? – Joe Kim Apr 19 '15 at 12:08
  • It wouldn't be confusing, but it wouldn't be correct. That's exactly the kind of situation when you would expect to use "the": to refer to the only one there. (By the way, we spell it fridge, rather than "frige", even though there is no D in refrigerator.) – Brian Hitchcock Apr 20 '15 at 5:19

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