"the people we crave" vs. "___ people we crave" (article THE

runglish333

Member
Russian
Could this sentence be written by a great English writer:
"Why are the people we crave the most always the ones who crave us the least? I am constantly hurting myself because of this, especially with people who once craved me as well, but no longer do."?

How would it sound if it was worded in this way:
"Why are people we crave the most always the ones who crave us the least? I am constantly hurting myself because of this, especially with the people who once craved me as well, but no longer do."?

(can you rephrase it?)
 
  • runglish333

    Member
    Russian
    The author is "anonymous" :)

    I suspect this sentence could have been written by a semi-literate second-generation teenage immigrant in the UK. :)

    The question was essentially about what difference placing the article would make in "especially with (the) people who".

    the people we crave the most = (only) those whom we crave the most ?
    especially with people who once craved me as well = especially with anyone who once craved me as well ?
     
    Last edited:

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi runglish333,
    Could this sentence be written by a great English writer:
    "Why are the people we crave the most always the ones who crave us the least? I am constantly hurting myself because of this, especially with people who once craved me as well, but no longer do."?
    I would say "no", for three reasons:
    (i) it's quite unusual (though not impossible) to crave [= "to have a very strong desire for"] a person. A good writer would be clearer about what he meant.
    (ii) "hurting myself" sounds odd. Does this mean "harming myself", or does it mean "hurting", or something else? A good writer would be clear.
    (iii) Where does the "with" come from? What is it associated with? It could mean "in the case of", but it's vague. Overall, this is poor writing.

    Leaving that aside, your query is about the use of articles, and the answer is "yes", the sentence can be rephrased in the way you have done. In fact all four versions below are perfectly possible, and in the given context there is no noticeable difference in meaning. Why is there no noticeable difference in meaning? Well, if you include the definite article here, it is to "define" which people you mean. But the word "people" is already, in both cases, followed by a defining clause: which people? "People we crave the most" and "people who once craved me". So even without "the", the people are defined, and with "the", they are defined twice, but that doesn't matter.

    Why are the people we crave the most always the ones who ...... especially with people who once craved me as well, but no longer do. :tick:
    Why are people we crave the most always the ones who ... especially with the people who once craved me as well, but no longer do. :tick:
    Why are the people we crave the most always the ones who ... especially with the people who once craved me as well, but no longer do. :tick:
    Why are people we crave the most always the ones who ... especially with people who once craved me as well, but no longer do. :tick:

    I hope I've answered your questions satisfactorily.
     

    runglish333

    Member
    Russian
    Thanks, Enquiring Mind :)
    (i) it's quite unusual (though not impossible) to crave [= "to have a very strong desire for"] a person. A good writer would be clearer about what he meant.
    Indeed, according to Google, "I crave you" is roughly 15 times less common than "I want you".
    (ii) "hurting myself" sounds odd. Does this mean "harming myself", or does it mean "hurting", or something else? A good writer would be clear.
    One can be hurt emotionally, though, in case of a self-inflicted emotional trauma, one could probably write, "I hurt myself". The author puts all the blame on himself.
    (iii) Where does the "with" come from? What is it associated with? It could mean "in the case of", but it's vague.
    Apparently, this is quite a casual colloquial style amongst the British teenagers.
    "With" could be an ellipsis of "when I was with", otherwise it could be an instance of poetic license where the author "hurt oneself with an object" (with people).
    So even without "the", the people are defined, and with "the", they are defined twice,
    which creates an additional restrictive emphasis, doesn't it?

    How is life in Česká republika? :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top