(the) students started to greet him

TommyGun

Senior Member
Hello,

I thought up the following sentence:

1. As he comes in the lecture-hall, students start to greet him.

Shall I use the definite article here and write:

2. As he comes in the lecture-hall, the students start to greet him.

because it is specific students, the students who sit in the lecture-room?
 
Last edited:
  • MilkyBarKid

    Senior Member
    British English
    1. This is written in the Historical Present Tense ('come' should be 'comes'):
    As he comes into the lecture-hall, students start to greet him.
    2.
    you hadn't identified 'the students' prior to referring to them. To the reader, 'apparently there are students already in the hall'.
     

    k8an

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    Hello,

    I thought up the following sentence:

    1. As he come in the lecture-hall, students start to greet him.

    Shall I use the definite article here and write:

    2. As he come in the lecture-hall, the students start to greet him.

    because it is specific students, the students who sit in the lecture-room?

    Hello :)

    Just a few corrections:

    As he (1)comes (present indicative tense)/(2)came (past tense) into the lecture room (usually we say "lecture theatre"), (the) students (1)start (present indicative tense)/(2)started (past tense) to greet him.

    (Choose either (1) or (2); the verbs both have to be in the same tense, but I'm not sure which one you meant so I've given both options)

    Regarding the definite article, both are correct - they just have a slightly different meaning.

    a) "...the students start/started to greet him" - this means that the students who are greeting him are SPECIFICALLY those who are IN the lecture theatre.

    b) "...students start/started to greet him" - this means that some students are greeting him, but not necessarily those specific students who are in the lecture theatre. It could be any students.

    Hope this helps.
     

    TommyGun

    Senior Member
    Thank you!
    2. you hadn't identified 'the students' prior to referring to them. To the reader, 'apparently there are students already in the hall'.
    Do you mean that the version without "the" is preferable? if so, the opinions differ: :)

    b) "...students start/started to greet him" - this means that some students are greeting him, but not necessarily those specific students who are in the lecture theatre. It could be any students.
    a) "...the students start/started to greet him" - this means that the students who are greeting him are SPECIFICALLY those who are IN the lecture theatre.
    What does mean "specifically"? I see it as students that are associated with the lecture theater and the present moment of time. They are even not necessary all the students in the lecture theater, right?

    b) "...students start/started to greet him" - this means that some students are greeting him, but not necessarily those specific students who are in the lecture theatre. It could be any students.
    In the case of the definite article, I think "the" also could suggest any students associated with the situation, for example they could be students who watch a video translation of the event, or students who look through the window into the theater, is it right?

    Am I right that there turns out no preference over the "article" and "generic" version of the sentence, and the choice whether to use it or not is at the whim of the narrator?
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top