prepositions & articles

1

Hi,

I have two doubts. Please go through the following lines.

1.

 

a. In bed with 2 cute kids. (Do I need to use 'the' here.?)

b. In the bathtub with 2 cute kids. (How about using 'the' here.?)

Please correct me if I am wrong. Also, appreciate if you can explain.

 

2. My second doubt is about using 'to' in the following line.

Get all your smart devices TO work really smart. All at once. (Is 'To' required in the line?)

 

PLease explain.

Thanks

Jesspi

1 answer


0

Hi Johnie (or Jesspi),

 

Thanks for the interesting questions.  I hope I can help you.

 

1.  When do we use the with plural countable nouns?

 

The noun kid is a countable noun.  Kids is the plural form.  The rule for when to use the with plural countable nouns is:

 

(a) don't use the if you are talking about the noun in general, as a category.  For example:

 

Kids are cute!

 

I don't want to be a father, because I don't like kids.

 

But

(b) use the if you are talking about a specific group.  For example:

 

My friends brought their children to the picnic.  There were four adults and seven kids.  The kids were so cute!

 

I saw some children playing soccer with their fathers in the park.  The kids were not very good.

 

However, when you use a quantity number, for example two kids, it is unusual to use the even if you are referring to a specific group; after first identifying how many children, it would be more natural to refer to them after that as the kids. It is not impossible, though.  I need to change the example phrases you provided because I keep thinking about Michael Jackson and getting creeped out. :) For example:

 

More natural: My girlfriend has two kids from her first marriage.  I like her very much, but the kids annoy me.

 

Less natural, but ok: My girlfriend has two kids from her first marriage.  I like her very much, but the two kids annoy me.

 

2.  When do we use to + [an infinitive verb]?

 

Your second question is more difficult to answer, because in order to learn the correct grammar here you have to do a lot of studying and memorizing, make a lot of mistakes and have them corrected, until you get used to using gerunds (verb+ing) and infinitives (to+verb) correctly.

 

Basically, when there are two verbs in a sentence (when the first verb is not a modal), sometimes the second verb must a gerund, and sometimes it is an infinitive. For example:

 

I want to swim.  (want must be followed by an infinitive)

I enjoyed singing at karaoke last night (enjoy must be followed by a gerund)

 

Not only that, but for a small number of verbs, the second verb can be either a gerund or an infinitive with no difference in meaning.  For example:

 

She began to sing.

She began singing.

He started to read the book.

He started reading the book.

 

And finally, for other verbs, the second verb can be either a gerund or an infinitive but the meaning is different.  For example:

 

He stopped to smoke.  (It means he stopped doing something, in order to smoke.)

He stopped smoking.  (It means he quit smoking; he gave up the bad habit.)

 

Learning these complicated differences can be quite tricky.  I suggest you get a good English grammar reference book.  Here are a couple websites that will help you get started:

 

http://www.englishpage.com/gerunds/gerund_or_infinitive_different_list.htm

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/gerunds.htm

 

As for your example phrase in #2 above, the verb get can be followed either by a gerund or an infinitive with no change in meaning, so get all your smart devices to work has the same meaning as get all your smart devices working.

 

I hope this helps.

 

I hope this helps.

link answered Feb 27 '13 at 14:04 Shawn Mooney Expert

Hi Shawn

Thanks a lot for the quick help. Your explanantions were absolutely helpful.

Just one more time let me draw your attention to the first part of my first question.
Let's assume these lines are to be put on photos on a social nerwork site, as captions.

a. In THE bed with 2 hot women. [Changed considering your Michael Jackson thought :)]

b. In THE bathtub with 2 hot women.

Since I am putting up a picture and people on my friendslist can see the image of bed/bathtub, they know
which bed/bathtub I am talking about. So, In that case should I use 'the' (as above)? Or, since, they don't
know which bed/bathtub I am talking about in real, can I use the following lines.

a. In bed with 2 hot women. [Changed considering your Michael Jackson thought :)]

b. In bathtub with 2 hot women.

Sorry, if my doubt sounds rubbish. Just confused.

Thanks in advance

Jesspi

Johnie LennFeb 28 '13 at 09:44

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