(an/the) abstract of (an/the) article

buoo

Senior Member
Korean
Hello.

A. Here is the abstract of the article I found on the internet.

B. This looks like an abstract of an article from an website.

C. Here is the abstract of an article.

Suppose I use one of these when I start a new thread here. I'm really lost with the articles above. Can you please indicate which ones are correct?

I need to give my opinion now, but I wrote them based on my understanding, so basically I expect them to be correct, of course. I hope the choices of articles shown in the above sentences can speak for my opinion :)
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Well it is not a quick job!

    Example A is very specific, there is one article which you have tracked down and there is one abstract of it.

    Example B is much more general, the text under discussion looks like an abstract (but it could be some other sort of text) and there is no specific website or article in mind.

    Example C is a bit more mixed. You have THE (specific) abstract but the article is general. This perhaps a less common situation. so to use it clearly I reckon the sentence needs to be a bit longer, e.g. here is the abstract of an article I can use for my research. This shows that that you have a choice of articles, but this is the one abstract for discussion.

    Is that clear enough?
     

    spiegel77453

    New Member
    English - United States
    As suzi br said, the differences between definite and indefinite articles are very difficult to explain.

    To be a bit general about it, I'd say the following is generally true: Use the indefinite articles "a" or "an" to introduce something for the first time, and use the definite article "the" for something that has been mentioned previously.

    If you'd like to learn more, the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has a more in depth discussion of definite vs. indefinite articles: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/540/01/
     

    buoo

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Oh, thank you so much for your help, suzi br, and spiegel too.

    As a matter of fact, I thought "abstract" in its nature should already be identified as unique to "article". Like, "the purpose of this operation is to kill Bin Laden." In this case, don't you place 'the' before noun? Why do you say 'the'?

    Alright, I know from the background information you can connect the reference of 'the' to the previous information.
    For example, there was a question about article usage today on the forum. The gist of it was how to use it properly when ...

    The gist and question are connected.

    I bought a new cell phone. The battery has more capacitity than any other phones.

    The, because it is connected to the phone even thought no mention of battery was given in the previous context.

    So if you rule out the cases of this kind, do you think there is other reasons for the in "the purpose of our operation is to kill ..." ?

    I hope you understand what I wrote. :)
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I think I understand, and your points about the phone / battery seem fine.

    I cannot really see what your issue is about "the purpose of this operation". That seems like standard usage of the definite article to me.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Yes, an abstract will be unique to the particular text it is based on, but you can have more than one abstract and then you can chose AN abstract from a pile of different ones!
     

    spiegel77453

    New Member
    English - United States
    In that case you could use either a definite or indefinite article, but they imply two different things. Saying "a purpose of our operation" implies that you are discussing just one of the several purposes of your operation. Saying "the purpose of our operation" implies that you are discussing the one and only purpose or the most important purpose of your operation.
     

    buoo

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Example C is a bit more mixed. You have THE (specific) abstract but the article is general. This perhaps a less common situation. so to use it clearly I reckon the sentence needs to be a bit longer, e.g. here is the abstract of an article I can use for my research. This shows that that you have a choice of articles, but this is the one abstract for discussion.
    Thank you both for your kind help.

    I think this question will serve as a clear point of the problem.

    D. Here is an abstract of an article I found on the internet.
    E. Here is an abstract of an article.

    Likewise, as a sentence introducing details that will follow, are these correct?


     

    buoo

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Okay, here I found a sentence that might be useful to compare with.

    This sentence is found in Explaining English Grammar by George Yule.

    He couldn't tell us the cost of all those repairs.

    The author explains that 'of all those repairs' modifying the 'cost' give rise to the placement of 'the'. The modifying part restricts the domain of the reference of 'cost'

    In "an abstract of an article", these two nouns (abstract and article) are not in the same relation as those two parts in the phrase. And I think this is the reason that they can separately take their own articles without affecting or being affected by one another.

    I think the D (below) is flatout wrong for having 'an' before 'article'. Nevertheless, the reason I included in the above post is sometimes it seems nouns modified by the following phrases/clauses can receive a non-identified status.

    D. Here is an abstract of an article I found on the internet.

    It's really hard to discriminate which can qualify nouns as identified and which qualify them as classified(a) but not yet identified(the).

    I keep thinking these two are of same status in their relation to the nouns before them.

    [an abstract of an article]
    [the cost of all those repairs]

    I can't even tell if this is the problem I'm having on the issue discussed here. :)
     
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