"four of them" and "the four of them"

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hermanmon

Member
Chinese - China
Hello guys!

I found in a grammar book that "four of them" and "the four of them" were different in meaning.

1. Four of them will stay here. (there are more than 4 guys, but only 4 will stay)
2. The four of them will stay here. (there are only 4 guys, and all of them will stay)

Is that correct?

How about the sentences below:

3. They are students of the college.
4. They are the students of the college.

5.The soldiers returned, and only two weeks later ten of them left for the front.
6.The soldiers returned, and only two weeks later the ten of them left for the front.

Thank you in advance.
 
  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    1. Four of them will stay here. (there are more than 4 guys, but only 4 will stay)
    2. The four of them will stay here. (there are only 4 guys, and all of them will stay)
    Is that correct?
    Yes.
    3. They are students of the college.
    4. They are the students of the college.
    The second sentence may or may not mean that they are the only students of the college. It depends on the context in which it was said. If it was said by itself, it probably means that. But if certain students of the college had been referred to earlier, this sentence could be a reference to those, and not to all the students of the college.
    5.The soldiers returned, and only two weeks later ten of them left for the front.
    6.The soldiers returned, and only two weeks later the ten of them left for the front.
    The same principle applies as with the "four of them" example.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "The" has a number of uses, one of which is to refer to a specific group within a larger class. "The students" can therefore refer to a specific group of students. It could be that a specific group has already been mentioned, or is limited by the context (which might, for example, be talking about basketball teams), but in absence of any previous mention or context, "the students of the college" means all of the students at that college, or students of that college in general. Students in general could in practice mean less than half of them:
    The students of the college vote Republican​
    Only 60% of them vote, and 40% of those vote Democrat, but even though only 36% of the students actually vote Republican, the statement is still correct English.
     
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