# a / the grid reference

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#### VicNicSor

##### Banned
grid
3. a set of numbered lines printed on a map so that the exact position of any place can be referred to:
The pilots were just given a grid reference (=number referring to a point on a map) of the target.
Longman dictionary

How can it be A grid reference, since it's a specific grid reference? That of a particular target. Thank you.

• #### Packard

##### Senior Member
The ground spotters who are giving out the references for the pilots will be giving out several during the day, each representing a separate target.

So they are selecting a grid reference for a target (or the target of moment).

If they are going to drop only one bomb for the entire mission then you could have the grid reference for the target.

#### VicNicSor

##### Banned
The ground spotters who are giving out the references for the pilots will be giving out several during the day, each representing a separate target.

So they are selecting a grid reference for a target (or the target of moment).

If they are going to drop only one bomb for the entire mission then you could have the grid reference for the target.
Sorry, I don't understand. You said "each representing a separate target", that is, a target has only one grid reference, right?
How could "a grid reference of the target" be possible...

#### Packard

##### Senior Member
Here is a map with a grid:

If I wanted to bomb the Post Office I would call in a grid reference of 2/E

If I wanted to bomb the Police I would call in a grid refernce of 4/D

#### VicNicSor

##### Banned
I can't get it

I understand "a grid reference for a target", but "a grid reference of a target"

Look please at the CALD's example:
• What's the grid reference of the village on this map?

That's what I'd expect in the OP. What's the difference? Why is THE in CALD, but A in Longman?...

#### srk

##### Senior Member
A grid reference could be Packard's 2/E, more precise coordinates referred to the same grid (2.3, midway between D and E), or the intersection of lines of latitude and longitude. Each would be a grid reference.

I don't see much to choose between "for a target" and "of a target."

#### waltern

##### Senior Member
That's what I'd expect in the OP. What's the difference? Why is THE in CALD, but A in Longman?...
I agree that "the" would sound better in the quote in the OP, but I can see "a" working - perhaps there are a number of grid schemes in use (for different maps, etc.), and the pilots were given coordinates corresponding to one of them.

#### VicNicSor

##### Banned
A grid reference could be Packard's 2/E, more precise coordinates referred to the same grid (2.3, midway between D and E), or the intersection of lines of latitude and longitude. Each would be a grid reference.

I don't see much to choose between "for a target" and "of a target."
But these are different from the OP, right?
I'd be happy with:
Each target has a grid reference.
The police office in Packard's picture has a grid reference of 2D.
Give me a grid reference for the school.

but:
Give me a grid reference of the school... It's like "Tell me a name of the book you're reading.", isn't it
perhaps there are a number of grid schemes in use (for different maps, etc.), and the pilots were given coordinates corresponding to one of them.
I.e. you mean, according to one scheme the target is 2D, and according to another scheme the same target could be, say, 7A... Right?

#### waltern

##### Senior Member
I.e. you mean, according to one scheme the target is 2D, and according to another scheme the same target could be, say, 7A... Right?
Right, that's the sort of thing I was thinking.

#### VicNicSor

##### Banned
Right, that's the sort of thing I was thinking.
That would explain, but that would be very unlikely though, right?
I mean, if the same pilots or "ground spotters" used different schemes for the same targets, there always would be a risk of confusion...

#### waltern

##### Senior Member
That would explain, but that would be very unlikely though, right?
I mean, if the same pilots or "ground spotters" used different schemes for the same targets, there always would be a risk of confusion...
Well, it's just an example of how the sentence might work grammatically, in real life it might be unlikely (or not? - when I studied orienteering in pre-GPS days using USGS maps with latitude/longitude gridlines oriented to "true" north, it was not uncommon to draw your own lines on the map oriented to "magnetic" north (look up "magnetic declination" if you don't know what I'm talking about) - and yes, to avoid confusion, you always had to be clear if you were working with a heading, etc. that was "true" or "magnetic".)

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#### JulianStuart

##### Senior Member
grid
3. a set of numbered lines printed on a map so that the exact position of any place can be referred to:
The pilots were just given a grid reference (=number referring to a point on a map) of the target.
Longman dictionary

How can it be A grid reference, since it's a specific grid reference? That of a particular target. Thank you.
Just like "The pilots were given a description of the target". That description is one that describes the target so it's specific too. It's a piece of information about the target. It's completely normal in English that if the choice of article makes no difference to the communicated meaning, then THE CHOICE DOES NOT MATTER and there is no rule to follow.

#### VicNicSor

##### Banned
Thank you everybody for the replies!

Just like "The pilots were given a description of the target". That description is one that describes the target so it's specific too. It's a piece of information about the target.
I.e., you mean that the OP works even if that's the only grid reference of the target?

#### JulianStuart

##### Senior Member
Thank you everybody for the replies!

I.e., you mean that the OP works even if that's the only grid reference of the target?
Think about it - the target can only have one grid reference (any other grid reference would make the bombs miss the target )

#### VicNicSor

##### Banned
I meant "only one scheme", of course, sorry.

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