People like changing (the) oil in their cars or mowing (the) lawn.

< Previous | Next >

temporaryaccount01

New Member
korean
"Most people's personal lives are filled with tasks that they don't enjoy doing, but they
do them anyway. Who likes going to the doctor or dentist, for example? But we do this
because we know that it is important to take care of our health. I don't know many people
who like changing the oil in their cars or mowing the lawn."


1. I don't know many people who like changing the oil in their cars or mowing the lawn

2. I don't know many people who like changing oil in their cars or mowing lawn.

Are they both acceptable? If so, is there any difference in meaning?
 
Last edited:
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Only sentence 1 is acceptable to me.

    We don't say mow lawn (at least in BE), since lawn is a count noun. In your garden you have a lawn.

    It is possible to have a picture of someone mowing a lawn, with the caption Man mowing lawn. But this only applies to captions and headings.

    You can perhaps say I like changing oil in my car, but if you take your car to a garage, it would sound strange to say Can you also change oil in my car? without saying the oil.

    (You should also make clear that your first paragraph is a quotation -- from what?)
     
    Last edited:

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You need 'the' for oil too, in my opinion. Although you don't actually say 'engine oil', this is implied by 'the oil'. To omit 'the' removes or reduces this association and you could, for instance, be referring to transmission oil or brake fluid.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree that you can’t omit either of those definite articles without making the sentence sound very unnatural.
     

    AntiScam

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    You need 'the' for oil too, in my opinion. Although you don't actually say 'engine oil', this is implied by 'the oil'. To omit 'the' removes or reduces this association and you could, for instance, be referring to transmission oil or brake fluid.
    You mentioned an inspiring idea. How about:
    "I don't know many people who like changing transmission oil in their cars"
    or
    "I don't know many people who like changing engine oil in their cars"
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You mentioned an inspiring idea. How about:
    "I don't know many people who like changing transmission oil in their cars"
    or
    "I don't know many people who like changing engine oil in their cars"
    Ha, you have got me there. I would still use 'the' even when specifying 'engine oil', although your sentences don't sound wrong like the OP's example.
     

    AntiScam

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Ha, you have got me there. I would still use 'the' even when specifying 'engine oil', although your sentences don't sound wrong like the OP's example.
    I am using your answers to help me arrive to a conclusion, so correct me if I am wrong.

    "I don't know many people who like changing transmission oil IN THEIR CARS" just means:
    Some people, as a habit, like changing or like to change transmission oil of any vehicle, and they do that work in their cars! (gives you the wrong message)

    "I don't know many people who like changing THE TRANSMISSION OIL in their cars" just means:
    Some people like changing the transmission oil that is used in their cars. (the intended message)

    Edit: If the conclusion is correct, then the problem was a matter of misplaced modifiers mixed with a definite/indefinite issue.
     
    Last edited:

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I am using your answers to help me arrive to a conclusion, so correct me if I am wrong.

    "I don't know many people who like changing transmission oil IN THEIR CARS" just means:
    Some people, as a habit, like changing or like to change transmission oil of any vehicle, and they do that work in their cars! (gives you the wrong message)

    "I don't know many people who like changing THE TRANSMISSION OIL in their cars" just means:
    Some people like changing the transmission oil that is used in their cars. (the intended message)

    Edit: If the conclusion is correct, then the problem was a matter of misplaced modifiers mixed with a definite/indefinite issue.
    Neither sentence really suggests that any (some) people like changing oil in their cars. 'I don't know many people who' often includes 'I don't know anyone who', and really means 'Most (or all) people I know don't ...'.

    Either meaning could be inferred (people don't like changing transmission oil specifically in their cars (but don't mind changing it in other vehicles), or they don't like changing it in any vehicle), but the context here strongly suggests they wouldn't like to change it in any vehicle, but the only place they actually have to change it is in their cars.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top