Hello! My question is about article usage in sentences like, (a) "X wrote a book, song, etc. called "XYZ". On one hand, such sentences provide new information, which is the reason for using the indefinite article. On the other hand, objects in such sentences are obviously definite and unique. If I said, (b) "X came to the conclusion that..." , I would use "the" because there were only one conclusion which X came to, though the sentence also provides new information.

Why is it incorrect to use "the" in (a)?

 

Last edited by Alexey86
Original Post

Hi, Alexey86,

Before mentioning the title of the book or song, you would say "a":

X wrote a book.

The title (which defines the book) is only added afterwards:

X wrote a book entitled "YYY."

BUT

- "YYY," the book written by X, was published last year.

The same happens with similar noun phrases:

When I was at school I had a friend called John.
- He married young woman called Jane.

Thank you, Gustavo! What about the "conclusion" example? Why does it differ from the "book/song" example in terms of article usage? The "that..." part is added afterwards as well, but it makes the conclusion definite. Why doesn't the "entitled/called..." addition do the same?

Last edited by Alexey86
Alexey86 posted:

What about the "conclusion" example? Why does it differ from the "book/song" example in terms of article usage? The "that..." part is added afterwards as well, but it makes the conclusion definite. Why doesn't the "entitled/called..." addition do the same?

I find it hard to find a parallel between both examples. The only similarity might be that in both cases what follows specifies the noun, but in the case of "book" what follows is a modifier, while in the case of "conclusion" what follows is a complement.

Anyway, "that"-clauses functioning in apposition to abstract nouns always (or almost always, just in case there appears an exception ) follow nouns with a definite article:

- the conclusion that the new year would be better ...
the idea that the new year would be better ...
- the suggestion that the new year would be better ...

Thank you! Please, correct me if I'm wrong:

He came to a conclusion that makes me happy (= a noun + a modifier).

He came to the conclusion that the new year would be better (= the noun + a complement).

I'm not sure because Ludwig gives the following examples:

a) This phenomenon might come to an idea that the capability of antiadversity of normal cells is stronger than that of cancer cells when incubated with a relatively high concentration of UCNPs in certain range.

b)  Accordingly, we have come to an idea that varying parameters should affect the final cosmetic result of the early treatment.

c) Another one of the goals was to come up with an idea that down the road would do a good job of blending in with a large tree nearby and the insects that stop by outside.

Last edited by Alexey86
Alexey86 posted:

Please, correct me if I'm wrong:

He came to a conclusion that makes me happy (= a noun + a modifier).

He came to the conclusion that the new year would be better (= the noun + a complement).

That's correct. (Better: He came to a conclusion that made me happy.)

Alexey86 posted:

Ludwig gives the following examples:

a) This phenomenon might come to an idea that the capability of antiadversity of normal cells is stronger than that of cancer cells when incubated with a relatively high concentration of UCNPs in certain range.

b)  Accordingly, we have come to an idea that varying parameters should affect the final cosmetic result of the early treatment.

c) Another one of the goals was to come up with an idea that down the road would do a good job of blending in with a large tree nearby and the insects that stop by outside.

Frankly, I don't like any of them.

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