Life started in simple organisms, whose living power consisted chiefly in their being able to reproduce themselves before dying. But from these humble beginnings came a stream of life which, growing ever more and more complex, has in the end produced being whose lives are largely centered in their feelings and ambitions, their sense of beauty and the religion in which lie their highest hopes and noblest desires.

why the writer not use with instead of in?also, WHY "the" is not used with superlated degrees highlighted in above context

  • 1
    Can you give us more context? The choice of with or in might depend on the larger context.
    – stangdon
    Jul 13, 2016 at 15:00
  • 1
    I think, since he or she wanted to imply that life, at the very beginning stage, was created inside the simple organism rather than life started by means of simple organism. but, I am not sure
    – Cardinal
    Jul 13, 2016 at 15:10
  • 2
    The writer is probably using in because he's a woolly thinker, rather than because he's not very articulate. Obviously there were no "simple organisms" before life itself arose, so life couldn't meaningfully have started there, since there was no such place anyway. It's not like Darwin's saying that life might have started in some "little warm pond", since we might reasonably suppose that warm little ponds did exist before life, and that's where life got started. (Unless it actually originated in black smokers, the current "hot favourite" hypothesis! :) Jul 13, 2016 at 15:13
  • The term the religion is also strange (that may again reflect woolly thinking). Atheists can have high hopes and noble desires too (quite possibly, higher and nobler than those of religious people) - but even if we put that issue aside, the question immediately arises: What religion? I'm guessing the writer takes it for granted the only real religion is Christianity, but using that definite article is a curious way to imply this. Jul 13, 2016 at 15:21
  • 1
    @Cardinal: Yeah - it's a moot point. In practice I suppose even if we could exactly reconstruct the sequence of events, there would be no single point at which one could say That's when life started! One millennium you've got bags/blobs of random assortments of organic compounds loosely contained in oily "skins", then in the next millenium it turns out that some of those assortments possess qualities that make it more likely other such bags may come into existence. Doubtless all long before there's any precise copying mechanism such as RNA/DNA. Jul 13, 2016 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


why the writer not use with instead of in?

The start of new life as commonly understood generally occurs physically within another existing life, so this could be why the writer is abstracting the "process of life starting" as occurring "inside" of simple organisms.

also, WHY "the" is not used with superlated degrees highlighted in above context

Nouns can take one determiner. An article is a type of determiner, as are possessive pronouns. Since the their is already there, the is not needed.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .