40

Of course in most contexts we use a to refer to a generic, non-specific example of some class (or the first mention of a specific member of that class), and the to refer to a specific previously-mentioned member of that class. This is not the case here. In this usage, both a and the can be used to describe an exemplary peasant, taking some random peasant in ...


15

We can use the indefinite article (a peasant) if we are discussing an unknown peasant, or the definite article if we are discussing the generic peasant (considered as a type of person). Either is appropriate in the context you quoted.


6

In both cases, you’re using ’peasant’ as a generic, but the generic forms are different in their meaning. A generic formed with the definite article in English is generally categorical. In other words, it talks about the noun as a category of person/place/thing/idea, describing all items referenced by that noun as one group. This is essentially the same as ...


3

Conceptually, the object of the preposition at is a number, a value, or a figure. The person was thinking of Switzerland's banana sales as a singular entry on a ledger. It's effectively short for with Switzerland the outlier at a huge value of 15 million euros. A similar example might be the runner finished the race in a blazing (time of) three minutes.


2

Yes, "euros" is plural here, because of the number "15 million". But "a" does not modify "euros". We can demonstrate this by replacing "a" with a plural equivalent: *...with Switzerland the outlier at several huge 15 million euros. Another clue is "huge". It doesn't modify "euros" ...


2

Both constructs are acceptable. However, there can be a difference in interpretation. 'A peasant' uses peasant as a generic category: that class of people known as peasants. 'The peasant' may also use peasant in this generic, categorical sense. However, 'the peasant' might also refer to a particular, singular person: 'The Peasant, name unknown, social caste -...


2

The character Twain was writing about, Pudd'nhead Wilson, is trying to define courage by giving examples of what it is and what it isn't. Courage IS resistance to fear Courage IS mastery of fear But courage IS NOT absence of fear He goes on to give the example of the flea, a tiny, fragile, creature that lives on creatures that are much bigger and stronger ...


1

"The" is used when the reader knows exactly what it's talked about. So it's shared information between both the writer and the reader. However, in this sentence, "a" is used in "a small house" and in "a village" because it could be any house in any village located in the Netherlands, the reader doesn't acknowledge this....


1

You would use a if you are referring to one of many possibilities, for example: The phone switches to a network with a stronger connection than the current one. This sentence suggests that there might be multiple connections that are stronger than the current network, and the phone could switch to any of those networks. We use the when there is only one ...


1

It's referring to the total value of sales, which is a singular quantity, rather than the individual euros that make up those sales.


1

I do not see anything ungrammatical about we have reached a main result of ... Indeed in some contexts use of "the" instead might be incorrect. Computer grammar checkers are not yet good enough to be relied on for decisions, in my view. The most they are good for is to highlight text for human examination and decision.


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