Why THE is used?

shigemota

Member
Japanese, Japan
Here is Editorial Reviews from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Joffrey-Ballet-Schools-Ballet-Fit/dp/0312194706). I wonder why the definite article THE is used to refer to a 23-year-old woman; there is no preceding reference to her.

Ballet-Fit is for the adult beginner ballet student, "whether 17 or 70." The authors admit the atmosphere in most ballet studios can be a bit intimidating, but say it needn't be.

We concede that if you hang around your local ballet school or dance studio, at first glance, it probably will seem to be filled with long-legged, lean-limbed adolescents, with tight little hair buns, stern little faces, and rumpled leg warmers around their ankles. But ... chances are the 23-year-old stretching on the floor isn't a budding ballerina but a law student who finds beginning ballet a relaxing break from her books.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Good question. I can tell you that there is nothing odd about this phrasing, indeed it is commonly used. Sadly I cannot expand on its role in more technical terms, sorry.

    I think it is just a way of drawing attention the "idea" of a girl like that. She isn't a "real" girl but the one used to illustrate an idea about the people in ballet classes.
     

    mdstl

    Member
    English (USA)
    It's as if to say there is no doubt that you will see someone just like that in any ballet class. It makes a generalization seem more real and concrete I think...like you can just imagine her.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    You would use the definite article here because you are speaking af a specific, definite 23-year-old. The fact that she is hypothetical does not change the fact that a particular person is meant.
     

    olliemae

    Senior Member
    New Zealand/America, English
    In addition to what others said, I add this. If you expand the sentence to it's full version (the "who is" has been taken out), it's easier to see that phrase "who is stretching on the floor" is modifying and specifying the subject "23-year-old". Because it's specific, it takes the definite article. Does that help?

    "chances are the 23-year-old who is stretching on the floor isn't a budding ballerina..."
     
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