12 votes

Can I say "Any tiger is a dangerous animal"?

Yes, you can, but in the context of your second sentence it makes more sense. Two zoo workers are talking: A. That old tiger can't be dangerous, it's hardly got any teeth left. B. Look, ...
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  • 87.1k
12 votes

The totem pole can be grouped into

Constructions like that can be made, using the definite article to refer to a category of things - "the horse", "the television", and yes, "the totem pole". You would not then group such a thing "...
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  • 22.3k
10 votes
Accepted

Singular or plural when indicating something unique owned by many

Both sentences are correct and understandable. To this native speaker, the first sounds more native-spoken, even though there may be interpreted as many dogs each having multiple tails. The second ...
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  • 65.4k
8 votes

The articles "a" and "the" in generic statements

Courtesy of John Lawler, to whom this very question was posed 17 years ago (reformatted below): Definite Generic: the + Singular Noun The tiger is in danger of becoming extinct. Plural ...
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  • 944
7 votes

"Only the masochist would choose to study Russian" or "Only a masochist would choose to study Russian"? (use of articles in generic noun phrases)

"The masochist" and "a masochist" mean two different things in this context. A masochist is simply a person who happens to be a masochist. The masochist is a type, not a person. "Is that your ...
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  • 3,057
7 votes
Accepted

A maine coon is a type of cat

Meatie, I think your guess here is exactly right, and it's an excellent observation. I had never noticed it until you pointed it out. Even though "type", "kind", "class", ...
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  • 27.4k
7 votes

The totem pole can be grouped into

No it does not make sense. A totem pole is a complete thing. You can't group one complete thing. If you are actually speaking about multiple totem poles and mean that there are different kinds of ...
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  • 75.1k
6 votes

The articles "a" and "the" in generic statements

You want to say "The tiger is in danger of becoming extinct." "The tiger" in this case is the whole species of tigers. You can't say "a tiger is in danger of becoming extinct." "Extinct" can only ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Cats drink milk vs Cat drinks milk

Cats drink milk. Means more than one cat is able to drink milk. Cat drinks milk. as written is not grammatical in normal usage, because a singular noun needs an article. So it should be: The/A ...
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  • 30.9k
5 votes

Is "Bananas grow in a tropical climate" grammatically correct?

"Bananas grow in a tropical climate." is also correct. It seems to answer the question, "What types of things grow in a tropical climate?" Whereas "Bananas grow in tropical climates." seems to ...
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5 votes
Accepted

The confusion between "The" or "A" article

Use definite article, when a singular noun is meant to express a whole class: The cow is a useful animal for mankind The cow is an animal species useful for the homo sapiens (The) cows are useful ...
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  • 231
4 votes

Do you say "I like apple" or "I like apples"?

The plural of countable nouns is more common: "I like ____-s." "I like Apples." "I like eggplants." "I like dogs." But the other commenter is incorrect saying that you missed the articles! You ...
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4 votes

A maine coon is a type of cat

I am confused about the usage of the word "type". Take the following for example: A maine coon is a type of cat. which most people believe is correct standard English. ...
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  • 3,079
4 votes

Singular or plural when indicating something unique owned by many

This is correct: Tom likes dogs with long tails. This one is also correct: Tom likes dogs with a long tail. Refer to this book on Google Books.1 Here is an excerpt: Have a ...
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  • 3,107
4 votes

Singular or plural when indicating something unique owned by many

I don't even know whether there's a rule here. For what it's worth: Your first sentence is correct. The second one sounds kind of lame. That said, there may be exceptions, such as when the plural ...
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  • 3,057
4 votes
Accepted

Generic plural. I need to know if there is a rule about it

Poor is an adjective. Sometimes we use an adjective such as poor as if it were a noun. But when we do, we mean the poor as a class of people, meaning the poor ones. Even without the word ones, the ...
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  • 11.8k
4 votes

Can I say "Any tiger is a dangerous animal"?

It could mean either one of your options, and perhaps it could be nuanced a couple other ways as well. By the way, it's hard to take such a short English sentence and simply ask, "What does this ...
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  • 108k
3 votes

A maine coon is a type of cat

The correct way to say it would be "The Maine Coon is a type of cat." Using "a" instead of "the" does match common usage, but it only works because any one ("a") Maine Coon is a member of the type/...
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3 votes

A maine coon is a type of cat

"Is a type of" already implies that it belong to the type, or group, of cats. In this sentence "a type of cat" means that the maine coon is one of the many cat subspecies, so it's not plural. I don't ...
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  • 149
3 votes
Accepted

Why do we use "the" with non-specific noun?

In these sentences you are using "the" to refer to the category of a thing, and so to say "I don't like going to the theater" is the same as saying "I don't like going to ...
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3 votes
Accepted

How does the specificity of a sentence change?

Joe plays the piano really well. Joe plays piano really well. As said by Alan Carmac and as explained in the answers to this question on ELU, neither of the two sentences implies a particular ...
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  • 36.2k
3 votes

(The) Owls Are Not What They Seem

The statement from Twin Peaks includes the definite article: COOPER: Where do you come from? THE GIANT: The question is, where have you gone? The first thing I will tell you is: There’s a man ...
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  • 11.8k
3 votes

Singular Vs plural while making a general statement

Now coming to the question - Recently i looked up in the internet as to: when is a definite article used ? It says - "We use the definite article in front of a noun when we believe 'the reader' ...
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  • 569
3 votes
Accepted

Is it correct to use the English possessive with generic nouns?

It is not ungrammatical to use the possessive in that context, but since you do not have a specific lizard in mind, it would be more idiomatic to say "I found a lizard tail under the bed". Or "I ...
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3 votes
Accepted

How do I fit all this information into one single noun phrase?

They make sense, however, they do have a slightly different meaning and I would go for option three. Anyone who on 1 June 2021 has at least part-time permanent employment Note the added "on&...
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  • 184
2 votes

Do you say "I like apple" or "I like apples"?

In a similar question posted on EL&U, this was my answer to the question So is it correct that I say "I like apple" instead of "I like apples"? [slightly adapted] Yes, you ...
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  • 22.7k
2 votes

{an/the} arrangement

Consider using the simpler phrasing: If we withdraw from the defense, you will need to arrange to pay for the fees and costs incurred by your attorney. If you must use the construction with 'make',...
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  • 121
2 votes

Is "Bananas grow in a tropical climate" grammatically correct?

If I'm not mistaken, there are many types of tropical climates. Yes, a tropical climate cannot be anything else. However, it varies geographically. We have a Sub-continental tropical climate (South-...
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  • 8,160

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