A ball

  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    If you are eating a banana, and it's only a single banana, then why don't we have to say "You are eating the banana"?
     
    Last edited:

    bearfreak

    Senior Member
    Javanese
    Thank you. But I think "the" is correct because there is only one something that exists. A = one of many, more than one. This is the rule I have learned. So, I would say ""I'm eating the banana", "swing the ball" because there is only one banana I'm eating and that I'm kicking the ball.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Well, unfortunately the rule that you learned is not a good one. The use of articles in English is much more complex. In general, if you have not already mentioned some particular banana (or ball), and people do not expect it to be a particular one, then you would say "a banana" (or "a ball"). The question is not whether you are eating only one banana (or kicking only one ball), it is whether there is more than one banana (or ball) on Earth.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    The real question is what does the word "ball" mean here? Clearly it doesn't mean the spherical object that these guys kick -- there's only one of those in play at any time, so it would always be the ball.

    No, here, it's a synonym of a kick, a shot, a movement of the ball. In any game there are hundreds of these, which might be described as a good ball, a hard ball, a low ball, a foul ball, an easy ball... etc.
     
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