Dear experts,

Would you confirm that the article is semantically valid in differentiating the expressions below which have only TWO meanings in common:

on a level
on the level
on a level - 1. of the same hight: She'd only brogue heels on her feet; and her shoulders were just about on a level with his.
2. of the same rank or quality: He has 'come back' with such certainty that he must of necessity be regarded as on a level with all the other big men.

on the level - 1. in a position where the ground is level: I should like a house on the level; I find it very tiring to climb this hill.
2. = on a level 1: His uniform was always spotless and he wore his white hat, no baseball caps then, down on the level with his eyebrows.
3. = on a level 2: It is hard to imagine that West would have minded this tribute, which put him on the level with Hogarth and Rembrandt.
4. (coll.) honest; trustworthy: Fred is on the level. He'll do a proper job for you and charge you a reasonable price.

Thank you,
Yuri

P.S. Please e-mail me the answer, if possibl

Last edited {1}
Original Post
There are some differences in the use of the two articles, as you say. Let's look at each item.

on a level - 1. of the same height: She'd only brogue heels on her feet; and her shoulders were just about on a level with his.

Correct. This means "on the same level as his"

2. of the same rank or quality: He has 'come back' with such certainty that he must of necessity be regarded as on a level with all the other big men.

Another expression is "on a par with."

on the level - 1. in a position where the ground is level: I should like a house on the level; I find it very tiring to climb this hill. *on a level

Right. *On a level does not work here.

2. = on a level 1: His uniform was always spotless and he wore his white hat, no baseball caps then, down on the level with his eyebrows.

This means "on the same level as his eyebrows" Comment: This usage, with the definite article, seems rare. It must be because it's a literal, physical level, not a rank or status.

3. = on a level 2: It is hard to imagine that West would have minded this tribute, which put him on the level with Hogarth and Rembrandt.

Correct. This means "on the same level as." You can also say "on a par with"

4. (coll.) honest; trustworthy: Fred is on the level. He'll do a proper job for you and charge you a reasonable price. *on a level

Correct. The idiom "on the level" can't be changed.

Marilyn Martin

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