To the left there was a long room with a narrow table strewn with periodicals.
Nouns modified by limiting attributes are used with the def- inite article.
Nouns modified by descriptive attributes may be used with ei- ther the indefinite or the definite articles, as the choice of articles for countable nouns is not affected by this kind of attribute.
But the division of attributes into two classes is not very helpful for practical purposes, since most attributes are not limiting or de- scriptive by nature. Taken by themselves, they are neutral, and it is only in the context that they acquire limiting or descriptive force.
e.g. He was going to build a new house.
Shortly after he moved to the newhouse, he fell ill. We shall take a road going through theforest as it won't be so hot there.
We shall take the road going through the forestas it is a short cut.
The above examples show that attributes as such cannot gen- erally be regarded as reliable criteria for the choice of articles.
Nevertheless we find a number of attributes which are distinct- ly limiting owing to their form of expression. In order to set them apart, we must survey the use of articles with countable nouns modified by all types of attributes.
§ 10. The useof articles with countable nouns modifiedby ad- jectives. Attributes expressed by adjectives are usually descrip- tive.
She drove an oldcar. His office was in a fine,gay, busy little street.
As was stated above, descriptive attributes do not affect the lice of articles. Thus we may find a noun modified by a descrip- attribute used with the definite article.
The woman looked at me shrewdly and there was a glint of hu- mour in thedark eyes. We lay lazily on the steep bank, looking at the tall reeds.
The definite article in this case is accounted for by the situa- tion but not by the attribute.
Note. The adjective pronouns all and whole are to be treated as descriptive at- tributes. The use of articles with nouns modified by these attributes is determined by the situation.
All children like ice-cream.
All the children watched the game with excitement.
He never stayed a whole evening with us.
He spent the whole evening watching the telly.
The adjective pronoun such is also a descriptive attribute, but, unlike all and whole, it is never combined with the definite article. Your father is such a handsome man. I'm not prepared to believe such things about my son.
But adjectives may become limiting attributes when contrast is implied- In this case they are marked by stronger stress.
e.g. Will you pack my things for me? I want the little suit-case
as I'llbe away only one night.
She saw a car pull up at the curb with two women in it. The younger womanasked her the way to the railway station.
Adjectives in the superlative degree, however, are always limit- ing attributes.
e.g. She was the smartest girlin the room.
"The most dangerous personof all is my uncle," the young man whispered.
Note 1. Compare the following sentences.
e.g. He's the most experienced doctor I know. He's a most experienced doctor.
In the first sentence we find the superlative degree of experienced which ac- counts for the use of the definite article. In this combination both most and expert enced are stressed. In the second sentence most is an adverb of degree ('крайне`, 'чрезвычайно), so the whole combination is a descriptive attribute and most is unstressed here.
Note 2. The combination a best suit ('выходной костюм') and a best seller ('ходкая книга') are set phrases.
Some adjectives, adjective pronouns and adjectivized toff-forms almost always serve as limiting attributes. The most important of them are: right ('тот, который нужен'; 'правильный') and wrong ('не тот'), very, only, main, principal, central, left and right, same, coming, following, present, former ('первый') and latter ('последний').
e.g. It just seems to be the wrongway to go about it.
My chief is the right manin the right place.
The questions you ask are the very questions Iam putting myself.
My mother was the only personwhom I told what had hap- pened.
My relatives take a very grave view of the present situation.
Besides, there are other adjectives which commonly, though not always, serve as limiting attributes, e.g. proper ('надле-
жащий', 'правильный'), adjacent, alleged, lower, necessary, op- posite, previous, so-called, upper, usual, and some others.
Note 1. An only child is a set phrase ('единственный ребенок у родителей'). i e.g. She is as spoiled as if she were an only child.
But we say: She was the only child present in the drawing room.
Note 2. Nouns modified by the adjectives next and last are generally used with the definite article.
e.g. We shall probably eat at the next table to him.
My father had not read the last seven pages of the book.
But when these adjectives modify nouns denoting time, actually coming or just past from the point of view of the speaker, there is no article at all.
e.g. He said: "No, you can't see her. She went to London last week"
He said: "I am determined not to spend more than ten pounds on my clothes
next year and so I'll manage by myself." It must be noted that in narration there is a fluctuation in the use of articles with nouns modified by next. We find either the definite article or no article at all. e.g. We had not been sitting long in the drawing-room before Mr March was ar- ranging a timetable for the next day. I sent her a wire and she met me at the station next day. Note 3. Note the difference in the use of articles with nouns modified by the adjective pronoun other. The definite article is used with a singular noun modified by other if there are only two objects of the same description.
e.g, He pulled on the other glove and said he would run along to his office.
If there are more than two objects of the same description, the indefinite arti- cle is used (another). In this case another has three meanings: 'еще один', 'любой другой', and 'не такой', 'иной'.
e.g. Could I have another cup of tea?
"You can do as well as another man," he said. When I came back I found him in another mood.
The definite article is used with a plural noun modified by other if there is a definite number of objects divided into two definite groups.
e.g. Of the three people invited by her for the weekend, one had already arrived.
Her husband wanted to know when the other guests were expected. My mother needed me more than the other members of the family.
In this case the other guests, the other members, etc. means 'the rest'. If some objects are divided into two groups and either one of the groups or both of them are indefinite, there is no article.
e.g. I was thinking of other people in the same position.
Her brothers, as a rule, could not make themselves good friends to other men.
In this case other people, other men, etc. means 'другие'.
The same rules are applied to other when it is used as a noun pronoun.
e.g. He drove with one hand, and used the other to draw diagrams in the air.
Young Martin was first sent on an errand to the grocer, then on another to the
butcher. Then Katherine remembered about her mail: "The only letter I've opened is my
husband's. Lewis, will you fetch in the others?" When people say they do not care what others think of them, for the most part
they deceive themselves.
Note 4. The other day is a set phrase meaning 'недавно', 'на днях'.
§ ll. The use of articles with countable nouns modified by numerals. Cardinal numerals serve as descriptive attributes.
e.g. He had refused three invitations to golf, his excuse to his friends being that he had no time.
If a noun modified by a cardinal numeral is used with the def- inite article, this is accounted for by the situation or context.
e.g. By candlelight the two men seemed of an age if indeed not of the same family.
Ordinal numerals are usually limiting attributes.
e.g. During the second week in October she met him in Oxford Street.
However, when ordinal numerals are not used to indicate or- der but acquire the meaning 'one more' or 'another', the noun they modify is used with the indefinite article.
e.g. They must have a third race to decide who is the real winner. After a moment's hesitation she added a fourth spoonful of sugar to her tea.
Note 1. The above mentioned rule does not apply to the numeral first. The combi- nation a first night ('премьера') and a first prize are to be regarded as set phrases.
Note 2. Different articles are used in the following patterns with nouns modi- fied by cardinal and ordinal numerals: the third chapter but chapter 3 (three), the fifth page but page 5 (five).
§ 12. The use of articles with countable nouns modified by participles. Attributes expressed by participles (see "Verbals''.
§§ 173-180; 252-254) are placed either in pre- or post-position to , the noun they modify.
When they are placed in pre-position, they are usually de- scriptive attributes, like adjectives.
e.g. They lived in a newly painted house. There was a faded photograph and an ash-tray on the desk. The use of the definite article in this case is usually accounted for by the context or the general situation.
e.g. At the corner of the street there shone the lighted windows of a club.
She collected the scattered pages of the letter and put it away into her desk. In post-position we usually find participle phrases but not sin- gle participles. They may be either descriptive (a) or limiting (b) attributes, according to the context or situation.
e.g. a) It was a very small room, overcrowded with furniture.
He took a medicine prescribed by the doctor. b) I adopted the tone used by my uncle Henry.
At length I reached the sixth floor, and knocked at the door numbered thirty-two.
§ 13. The use of articles with countable nouns modified by ing forms. Attributes expressed by ing-forms (see "Verbals", §§ 163-172; 227-232) are placed either in pre- or post-position to the noun they modify.
When they are placed in pre-position, they are usually de- scriptive attributes.
e.g. He looked at me with a mocking smile. He turned and saw a crying boy.
In post-position the ing-form may be either non-prepositional or prepositional. We generally find phrases and not single ing- forms here. Both kinds of these phrases may be descriptive (a) and limiting (b) according to the context or situation.
e.g. a) There was no answer and he sent a telegram saying that he needed some work done urgently.
John had an odd way of looking at things. b) He took the path leading to the lonely cottage.
He could not bear the thought of leaving her in such a state.
§ 14. The use of articles with countable nouns modified by in- finitives. Attributes expressed by infinitives tend to be descrip- tive. e.g. He willingly accepted an invitation to spend the weekend out
I made an attempt to smile. He suddenly felt an impulse to laugh.
Yet, sometimes, depending on the situation or context, the in- finitive may become a limiting attribute.
e.g. They did not have the money to buy the house. That's not the way to speak to your parents.
At last he forced himself to lie quietly on his back fighting the desire to answer back.
§ 15. The use of articles with countable nouns modified by clauses. Nouns can be modified by two kinds of clauses — attrib- utive (A) and appositive (B).
A. Attributive clauses qualify the noun. They may be intro- duced by the relative pronouns who, whose, which and that, by the relative adverbs where and when or asyndetically.
e.g. I will not describe the pictures that Strickland showed me. His pictures gave me an emotion I could not analyze. He wandered about the place like a man who has nothing else to do.
Attributive clauses fall into two groups:
1) Attributive clauses that can be removed from the sentence without destroying its meaning. They are marked by a pause sep- arating them from the principal clause. In writing they may be separated by a comma. These clauses are never joined to the prin- cipal clause asyndetically. Clauses of this kind are called non-de- fining clauses and they are always descriptive and do not influence the choice of the article. So the use of the article is determined by other factors (the context and other attributes).
e.g. She told me that she had discovered a wonderful young man, who was going to help her in the East End.
She asked me a question, which I did not hear.
On her sofa there was a note-book open, in which she was preparing her lessons for the term.
When he at last got to the office, where he spent so many dull hours, he gave a sigh of relief.
2) Attributive clauses so closely connected with the antecedent that they cannot be left out without destroying the meaning of the sentence. There is no pause between this kind of clause and the principal clause, and in writing they are never marked off by a comma. Such clauses may be joined to the principal clause ei- ther by connective words or asyndetically. Attributive clauses of this kind are called defining clauses and they may be limiting or descriptive, depending on the situation or context.
When attributive clauses are limiting, the definite article is used with the antecedent.
e.g. He took the cigarette that Robert offered him.
Iremembered what I used to feel about the young men Charles
brought to the house. In the back of her mind was the memory that it was the city
her friend came from.
In Russian the antecedent in this case may be modified by the words тот самый... который.
When attributive clauses are descriptive, the article with the antecedent is determined by the context or the situation.
e.g. She stared at me with an expression that made me uncom- fortable.
"It's not a story I could tell anyone else, Harry," he said. As a girl my mother had expected a husband who would give her love and position.
In Russian the antecedent in this case may be modified by the words такой, который ..., такого рода (типа), который... .
В. Appositive clauses disclose the meaning of the noun. They can modify only certain abstract nouns, such as idea, feeling, hope, thought, impression, sense and the like. Appositive clauses
are usually introduced by the conjunction that ('что') and are similar to object clauses.
e.g. He had the feeling that all his efforts proved to be futile.
He put off the thought that he ought to have tackled the con- versation differently.
Appositive clauses are generally limiting attributes.
e.g. "I am sorry", she said, and I had the impression that she
The idea that he can be of use made him happy. I was annoyed by the sense that nothing intellectual could ever trouble him.
Occasionally, however, the noun modified by an appositive clause is used with the indefinite article.
e.g. She had an impression that Charlie was speaking to his cous- in rather than to her. I had a growing feeling that time was running out.
§ 16. The use of articles with countable nouns modified by nouns in the common case. Attributes expressed by nouns in the common case are usually descriptive.
e.g. There was a glass door leading into the passage. A silver tray was brought in with tea cups on it. He sat on a kitchen chair.
When the modified noun is used with the definite article, this is accounted for by the situation, not by the attribute.
e.g. At the study door he stopped for a moment.
Lanny looked at the dining-room window and smiled.
Sometimes, however, nouns in the common case may serve as limiting attributes.
e.g. I reached the house just as the Whitehall lamps were coining
out. Do you believe we can leave the Sawbridge question where it is-
In this case the attribute is usually expressed by a proper name and serves to show that reference is made to a particular object.
§ 17. The use of articles with countable nouns modified by nouns in the genitive case. The use of articles with nouns modi- fied by other nouns in the genitive case is specific. Before we speak of the choice of the article it is necessary to find out to which element of the combination it refers.
As has been said (see "Nouns", § 17), there are two kinds of the genitive case:
1) the specifying genitive which denotes a particular person or thing, as in: my mother's picture, the man's voice, the river's bed. In this case the article refers to the noun in the genitive case and is chosen in accordance with the general rules.
e.g. the boy's
the boys' a boy's books
Robert's Note. When the noun in the genitive case is a proper name, there is naturally 2) the classifying (descriptive) genitive, which refers to a whole class of objects, as in: sheep's eyes, a doctor's degree, a mile's distance. In this case the article refers to the head-noun whereas the noun in the genitive case serves as a descriptive at- tribute. The article for the head-noun is chosen in accordance with the general rules.
e.g. We had not walked a mile's distance when we saw the river. It was only a mile from the cottage to the nearest village but
the mile's walk in the hot sun seemed very long to Jim. Is there a butcher's shop in the street? "I am looking for the butcher's shop," he said, "that used to
be here when I was a child."
As the article here refers to the head-noun, the noun in the genitive case may have the plural form and yet be preceded by the indefinite article, as in: a soldiers' canteen, a girls' school, a three miles' walk, a fifteen minutes' break.
e.g. Would you like to go to a soldiers' canteen and get some
food? The College has a two years' course.
§ 18. The use of articles with countable nouns modified by prepositional phrases.Attributes may be expressed by nouns with various prepositions. Depending on the context or the situation, they may be either descriptive(a) or limiting(b).
e.g. a) But you must know that a marriage with a boy in a jazz
bandwouldn't last a year.
A man under such circumstancesis always very helpless, b) He always felt ill at ease among the callers at hissister's
The darkness was almost complete, and the boats in the har- bourwere swaying to the rhythm of the sea's breathing.
Within this type of attributes special consideration should be given to the so-called of-phrasewhich is very common. Of-phrases may serve as descriptive and limiting attributes.
Descriptive of-phrases are recognized by clear-cut meanings. They denote:
quality —a book of interest, a feeling of relief, a question of im- portance, a portait of a girl, etc.
quantity or measure —a temperature of + 20°, a distance of three miles, a box of two tons, etc.
composition —a group of children, a flock of birds, a party of twelve people, a team of hockey players, etc.
material —a wall of glass, a ring of gold, a scarf of thick wool, etc.
content —a cup of tea, a bottle of milk, a packet of cigarettes, etc.
age —a boy of five, a man of middle age, etc.
size —a sailor of middle height, a building of enormous size, etc.
comparison —a wild cat of a woman (=a woman like a wild cat), an angel of a wife (=a wife like an angel), a devil of aboy (=a boy like a devil), etc.
Here also belong such combinations as: a friend of mine, a book of my own, etc.
Nouns modified by descriptive of-phrases usually take the in- definite article. But the definite article may also be used and then it is accounted for by the context or by the situation.
All other of-phrases are limiting and, consequently, the head- noun is used with the definite article. As limiting of-phrases ex- press a great variety of meanings there is no point in classifying
them. The most common types of combinations are: the house of my neighbour, the wife of a miner, the foot of the mountain, the collar of a shirt, the smoothness of a new machine, the shot of a gun, the development of science, the roaring of the ocean, the in- vention of the radio, the use of articles, the name of John, the city of New York, the position of a teacher, the colour of amber, the shadow of a tree, the outline of a boat.
In some cases, however, the choice of the article is affected not only by the nature of the of-phrase but also by the following factors:
1) If the head-noun denotes an object which is the only bearer of the property expressed by the of-phrase, the definite article is used: the president of the club, the glow of a lamp, the murderer
of Caesar, the monitor of the group, etc.
2) If there are many objects of the same description, the indef- inite article is used: a member of the club, a student of the group,
a puff of wind, etc.
3) The definite article is used, alongside the indefinite, when В there is a definite number of component parts: the (a) leg of the
table, the (a) wheel of the car, the (an) ear of adog.