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A – unspecific / A –specific

Any one as an example of all / One in particular

violin
 

 

Any one as an example of all / One in particular

A — ANY ONE AS AN EXAMPLE OF ALL

Use a to refer to one item as an example of all (unspecific) True for any like it. 

A violin is an important part of a symphony. (any violin)

It takes several years to learn to play a violin well.

A cello is larger than a violin.

A violin has four strings.

It's much easier to carry a violin than a bass cello.

A—ONE IN PARTICULAR 

Use a to refer to one item (specific) that has not been identified yet or is first mention. 

A violin was given to the conservatory. (a particular violin)

A student will be learning to play the violin.

A recital in which the student will play is scheduled in June.

A reception will follow the recital.

 
 

One could also use the if referring to the class The violin is an important part of the symphony.  The choice of a violin or the violin depends on the context of the writing.  We tend to use the in more scholarly contexts, especially in encyclopediaa or scientific journals.  Newspaper writing variies on this choice of articles.

Wikipedia contributors. "Violin." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 17 Nov. 2012. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A

In general / A specific one

Ukelele-hawaiian stringed instrument
 

 

Speaking Generally or Referring Specifically

SPEAKING IN GENERAL

 Use a before a noun that mentions the quality or characteristics of all such items.

A ukulele is a four-stringed instrument.

A red car is more visible to a Highway Patrol Officer.

 A joke can be a good way to start a speech.
 

SPEAKING ABOUT A SPECIFIC ONE

 Use a before a noun that is identified as one item specifically.

A ukulele found at a garage sale turned out to be excellent.

A red car stopped by a Highway Patrol Officer was speeding.

A joke told at the beginning of his speech made everyone laugh.

 

ukulele (n.) – a small Hawaiian guitar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

A Violin

violin
 

Does the sentence refer to a specific or unspecific one?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1-6.
A violin is a stringed instrument. It has four strings: E, A, D, G
A violin is a stringed instrument. It has four strings: E, A, D, G.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

A Specific One

Antonius Stradivarius
 

 

Read the Context

An anonymous American bidder paid $920,000 at a Paris auction Tuesday for a violin crafted by Italian master instrument-maker Antonius Stradivari in 1714. A second Stradivarious, said by experts to have been made in 1698 but modified afterwards, was purchased by an anonymous European bidder for about $716,000, French auctioneers Drouot said. The sales were the high points of Tuesday's auction of 115 stringed instruments and bows at Drouot's Paris headquarters.

Auctioneer Jacques Tajan had predicted before the sale that the violin made in 1714 -- which he described as an exquisite instrument -- would sell for between $583,000 and $833,333.

"If it sold for a million dollars, this would make me very happy," he had said.
Stradivari's violins are extremely rare and fetch extraordinary prices when they come up for sale.
A British woman paid about $617,000 in London in June, 1995, for a Stradivarius for her 10-year-old daughter, a music student in Germany.

Original news article

anonymous –  unknown, unnamed person; "without name"

 

 

 

 

 

A specific or unspecific one?

  1. Select your response—specific or unspecific.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

7.
PARIS (Reuters) - An anonymous American bidder paid $920,000 at a Paris auction Tuesday for a violin crafted by Italian master instrument-maker Antonius Stradivari in 1714.  

A violin refers to:




8.
A second Stradivarius, said by experts to have beenmade in 1698 but modified afterward, was purchased by an anonymous European bidder for about $716,000, French auctioneers Drouot said. The sales were the high points of Tuesday's auction of 115 stringed instruments and bows at Drouot's Paris headquarters.

A second Stradivarius refers to:




9.
Auctioneer Jacques Tajan had predicted before the sale that the violin made in 1714 -- which he described as an exquisite instrument -- would sell for between $583,000 and $833,333 "If it sold for a million dollars, this would make me very happy," he had said.

An exquisite instrument refers to:




10.
A Stradivarius violin is extremely rare and may fetch an extraordinary price when it comes up for sale. A British woman paid about $617,000 in London in June, 1995, for a Stradivarius for her 10-year-old daughter, a music student in Germany.

A Stradivarius violin refers to:




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Speaking in general or specifically

 

 

 

Decide whether the sentence refers to a specific one or an unspecific one.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" button to the left  as you go.
11.

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14.
devour (v.) – eat hungrily

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