Making a violin requires more than technical knowledge. (unspecific – any one)
We gave a violin to the music school. (specific)
A comet appears to have a tail as it streaks through the sky.(unspecific)
A comet was seen in the western sky last night. (specific)
This is a global business. /ˈg/
This is an electronic business. /ɪ/
The company has an NIH grant. /ˈɛn/
The director has a university e-mail address. /ˌyu/
The director has an unlisted e-mail address. /ʌn/
The wolf is a nocturnal animal. (unspecific – the class)
Wolves are nocturnal animals. (unspecific – all in general)
The lion sleeps much of the day. (unspecific – the class)
A lion sleeps much of the day. (unspecific – any one)
This is a puzzle. The pieces are inside the box.
(first mention) — (an expected part of an already mentioned item)
The part on top is here. (identified by modifier)
The part that I am holding is a corner. (ident. by clause)
The part you see is a corner. (ident. by clause)
Hand me the piece. (ident. by both see or know it)
Hand me the last piece. (ident. by being unique, the only one)
He is an Englishman. (unspecific)
He is English. (adjective of nationality)
The English are northern people. (specific nationality)
The blind need accessible walkways.
The English were proud of their team.
Do you want a large or small coffee. I'll have the large.
The latter will be much better. In fact, it's the best.
Most students ask
Most of the students in my English class ask questions.
A number of the students ask questions.
The number of the students who ask questions is low.
The kids who are starting college this fall across nation were born in 1994.
They do not remember .....
The Mojave Desert
The Vietnam War (but not WWII)
The 4th of July (but May Day)
The history of furniture reflects the history of the culture...
History of furniture reflects history of culture.
A friend called. / *Friend called.
This / that friend called.
These / those / some / three friends called.
A hair is on your sweater.
Hair makes a guy look young.
We went to San Francisco in 2009.
We went to San Francisco in June.
We went to San Francisco on June 19, 2009, at noon.