Here is my sentence:

It is the special period when China faces an extremely high traffic load, which results in great transportation problems, especially on the railway services.

My questions:

  1. Why does the author use "the" instead of "a"? My English teacher told me that there is a "a/an+adj.+n." rule.

  2. Why use "on"? I usually see a problem of.

  • Please include the sentence which immediately precedes "It is the..." as it might explain the choice of article.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 10:28
  • You are right to question on here. Although the author probably has in mind the railway lines, a form of surface transport, which would license the preposition on, "services" is abstract, so that what he may be thinking and what he actually says are not quite the same. He could have said "problems, especially for the railway services". Excess traffic creates problems for the railway services and for the department of transportation, and for those who use these modes of transportation, because of the congestion on the roadways and railways.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 10:34
  • @TRomano Thank you very much, TRomano. The link:travelchinaguide.com/china-trains/spring-festival-rush.htm
    – OscarLiu
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 11:21
  • first paragraph,line 3
    – OscarLiu
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 11:22
  • @TRomano what do you think of Maulik V♦'s answer?
    – OscarLiu
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 11:43

1 Answer 1


'...the special period' talks about the specific period wherein the country faces an extremely high traffic load.

Say, on Christmas, eBay and Amazon witness a lot of traffic on their websites. So, you can call that as the special period.

The preposition 'on' takes care of 'high traffic load' and not 'problems'. Read 'restrictive/non-restrictive clauses' for further information. The string between those two commas is just added information.

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