the pounding of the surf

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
pounding
repeated and heavy striking or hitting of someone or something
the pounding of the surf on a sandy beach
OED

The example talks about any beach. "The pounding" takes the article because it relates to "the surf". But why does the "surf " take the definite article? As I understand, the "surf" relates to surf in general in the sentence.

Thanks.
 
  • exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    I think that by giving a location ("on a sandy beach"), the type of surf is specified. Presumably the pounding of the surf sounds different on a sandy beach as opposed the sound of surf on a rocky shore or a shingle beach.

    So the surf sufficiently identifies the sound, and the speaker can tell the hearer that he has enough information to identify the intended sound.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    One of the problems with these extracts from dictionaries is that the full context is rarely given.

    The thrust of the example is to give a definition of "pounding" and not instruction in the use of the definite article.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thanks for the answers.
    The thrust of the example is to give a definition of "pounding" and not instruction in the use of the definite article.
    Yes, but I find that in this case it's possible to identify why the definite article is used (as exgerman did). There are a lot of exercizes on articles where the examples consist of only one sentence, without additional context.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Thanks for the answers.

    Yes, but I find that in this case it's possible to identify why the definite article is used (as exgerman did)
    Ex-german did not. He was cautious to use such words as "I think" and "Presumably". :)
     
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