in exercise 2

bego88

Senior Member
Spanish - Spain
Good morning,

Can anybody explain to me why we say 'in exercise 2' when referring to a list of exercises - activities within a textbook, for example INSTEAD of 'in the exercise 2'?

Could it be because "exercise" (a school exercise, from a book) is an abstract noun and we ommit "the" before abstract nouns in English?

For example,talking about how you did in all the exercises, you would say :
In exercise 2, I had to form the past tense of the given verbs. In exercise 3, there were some words whose meaning I didn't know . Etc

Thanks for your grammatical explanations
 
Last edited:
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    It's not because the noun is abstract. It is a common form of expression in numbering.
    We would say 'in exercise 3 on page 27'. You might find yourself doing this exercise in classroom 10 on week 2 of the course.
     
    I think that is because the number is the determiner (it determines the specific excercise with the number) and you can't have two determiners for one noun...(you always use only one like it's my book, it's the book I read, never it's the my book).It's the same with "on page 37". Let's see what others will say.
     

    bego88

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    I think that is because the number is the determiner (it determines the specific excercise with the number) and you can't have two determiners for one noun...(you always use only one like it's my book, it's the book I read, never it's the my book).It's the same with "on page 37". Let's see what others will say.

    But.... I don't think that the number is a determiner here but a numeral as determiners cannot be placed after the noun. You can have several determiners before a noun (for ex: all my many friends" but all of them must be placed BEFORE the noun. I am still wondering about th omission of "THE" in this expression.
    The explanation given by Wandle can be accepted but it is not a grammatical one. Maybe someone else can give his/her opinion....
    Thanks everyone
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    But.... I don't think that the number is a determiner here but a numeral as determiners cannot be placed after the noun. You can have several determiners before a noun (for ex: all my many friends" but all of them must be placed BEFORE the noun. I am still wondering about th omission of "THE" in this expression.
    The explanation given by Wandle can be accepted but it is not a grammatical one. Maybe someone else can give his/her opinion....
    Thanks everyone
    The number is a determiner and it can be placed after the noun. It cannot be placed before it. As wandle has already told you, this structure is normal in English.

    "Now class, pick up volume 3 of your text book, go to page 25 and in section 2 you will find exercise 3."
    or, correct but less idiomatic,
    "Now class, pick up the third volume of your text book, go to the 25th page and in the second section you will find the third exercise."
     
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