main object vs building itself

younghon

Senior Member
Korean - Korea
Q: I wonder which of the following words cannot have the same meaning, whether or not they are 'definite article the'.
bed, church, class, college, court, jail, market, prison, school, sea, ballet, circus, concert, library, opera, theater.
 
  • Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Q: I wonder which of the following words cannot have the same meaning, whether or not they are 'definite article the'.
    bed, church, class, college, court, jail, market, prison, school, sea, ballet, circus, concert, library, opera, theater.
    I'm unclear what your question is. Most nouns can take a variety of articles, or none, depending on the meaning of the sentence. Most nouns can apply to a class of things or to a specific thing. Most nouns can be used as adjectives or form compound nouns.
     

    younghon

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea
    I wonder what words can not represent the same meaning whether the 'definite article the' is attached or not between the case of suggesting the main object and the case of pointing to the 'building itself'. I’ve seen a lot of explanations online, and I’ve wasted my time, because I’ve become more confused. For example, some argue that these two sentences represent the same meaning and some argue that these represent different meanings.
    Examples: He is in class. vs He is in the class.
     
    Last edited:

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I wonder what words can not represent the same meaning whether the 'definite article the' is attached or not between the case of suggesting the main object and the case of pointing to the 'building itself'. I’ve seen a lot of explanations online, and I’ve wasted my time, because I’ve become more confused. For example, some argue that these represent the same meaning and some argue that they represent a different meaning.
    Examples: He is in class. vs He is in the class.

    Any choice of article or possesive changes the meaning of the sentence.

    He is in class.
    He is in the class.
    He is in a class.
    He is in some class.
    He is in that class.
    He is in this class.
    He is in my class.
    He is in your class.

    Etc.

    The word class doesn't change its general definition but the meaning of the sentence is different.

    I think focusing on the noun here isn't going to solve your problem. You are asking a question about articles and sentence or phrase level meaning.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You can't say:

    in market
    in sea
    in ballet
    in circus
    in library
    in opera
    in theater

    They all need an article.

    'in concert' only works in something like 'See the Rolling Stones live in concert at XYZ Stadium on June 21!'
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I think we can drop the article in these words if referring to the general field.

    Dancers in ballet work hard.

    In opera, the overture will forecast the musical themes of the work.

    It's hard for an actor to get the same public recognition in theater as in film.

    We also can drop the article on sea.

    The boat is headed out to sea.

    I agree, the others such as circus, library, and market require an article or possessive in any context I can imagine right now.
     

    younghon

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea
    The warship is now fit to go to sea.
    The warship is now fit to go to the sea.
    I‘m going to go to market
    I‘m going to go to the market.
    Are you saying there is no difference in meaning between these two sentences?
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    The warship is now fit to go to sea. OK

    The warship is now fit to go to the sea. Not idiomatic

    I‘m going to go to market Not idiomatic
    I‘m going to go to the market. OK

    Are you saying there is no difference in meaning between these two sentences?

    As I said above, the article or lack of one changes the meaning of the sentence. It doesn't change the meaning of the word. In your examples only one version of the sentence is really correct. However, we can say:

    The river goes to the sea.
    They are bringing an electric car to market by 2025.

    My point above is you need to look at the sentence level of meaning, not the word level. What are you trying to say?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I'm going to go to market (with this product). Is fine. It means I'm going to start selling it, not that I'm going to take it to a place that is a market.

    To me, those are different meanings of market.
     

    Giordano Bruno

    Senior Member
    English, England
    Younghon. If the preceding preposition is "to", then your list breaks neatly at "ballet". You could argue that "ballet" may refer to ballet classes/practise, etc., but otherwise all you examples from "ballet" onwards cannot take "to" without an article. All the examples before have specific meanings without the article, e.g. "go to sea" means "get on a ship".
     
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