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Mun Hwan
A question about the word "Intervention" Hello, I have a problem with the use of articles. (Did I use articles correctly in the above sentence?) I am not sure what is the difference between a(n) intervention and intervention. For example:"the possibility of a military intervention" and "direct intervention in the economy" The use of the article (a) seems arbitrary here. Is it so?
Jun 14, 2015 8:13 AM
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Answers · 8
When using a regular noun e.g. economy, you normally need an article. However, in certain cases in which the meaning accorded by the noun could also be expressed as a verb : 'the possibility of intervening (militarily)', you can omit the article if the noun itself is used : "the possibility of (military) intervention" 'the likelihood of an economic collapse' ; 'the likelihood of economic collapse' [the likelihood of the economy collapsing] 'the introduction of the new management practices' ; 'the introduction of new management practices' [ the introduction of new ways [practices] of managing ]
June 14, 2015
I'm not a teacher, but I can try to explain. A(n) is used to show singularity in this case. 'A military intervention' indicates that there will be a possibility of intervention only by the military and not by anything else - and possibly only once. 'Direct intervention', however, indicates that there may be various approaches to intervention, and possibly more than just once.
June 14, 2015
No, the use of articles is never arbitrary. The confusion probably comes from the word "intervention" itself. It can work as either a countable or uncountable noun. Your first phrase refers to a certain type of intervention. The second phrase is difficult to explain, because I don't know the full sentence. I've searched for the full sentence, and one example I've found has a determiner before it (articles and possessives are determiners), and another refers to intervention in the general sense.
June 14, 2015
"the possibility of a military intervention" "a military intervention" which means the speaker is talking about only one military intervention. if you don't want to emphasise the amount of it you can also say "the possibility of military intervention" this sentence may have those meanings -there can be more than one military intervention -the speaker is talking about the general military intervention "direct intervention in the economy" using "the" before "economy"... probably the speaker is talking about a specific country's economy. or it may be the speaker indicated, mentioned about this "economy" earlier. so when he writes the following sentence after that, he uses "the" to specify that he is just talking about the same economy he has just mentioned in other sentences. about "direct intervention" you are right it's a bit arbitrary! probably there is not only "one" direct intervention. but i guess it's okay to say "a direct intervention" instead of not using a/an in this sentence
June 14, 2015
An intervention is a specific (one) act. Intervention by itself is general.
June 14, 2015
Mun Hwan
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