Community Web Version Now Available
Song, Jeung Hyeon
Using "a" or "the"? I'm wondering it should be "a feminine" or "the feminine sea". Living alone for a long time without wife and family, he might have sought for any presence, a feminine sea, if you will, that will placate his loneliness.
Oct 22, 2016 10:11 AM
5
0
Answers · 5
Because it is indefinite, because he might have sought "any" presence, the right word is "a." The word "the" would make the sentence confusing. "The sea" means, literally, all of the world's saltwater, all of oceans considered together. The sea is salty, the sea has tides, the sea covers 2/3 of the world. "The feminine sea" means all the world's oceans, regarded as having female attributes. Since the sentence says that he "might" have sought this, it should say "would placate," not "will placate." I'm not sure about your punctuation. I think what you have is acceptable. However, "a feminine sea, if you will," is a parenthetical phrase. I would probably set it apart with em-dashes: "Living alone for a long time without wife and family, he might have sought for any presence--a feminine sea, if you will--that would placate his loneliness." This is a case where a serious writer would check an authoritative usage guide, like the Chicago Manual of Style.
October 22, 2016
The context makes it obvious that the writer is introducing a hypothetical idea of a particular feminine sea, and so "a" is correct.
October 22, 2016
Since I don’t know what “feminine sea” means as a concept it’s difficult to answer. Is it already mentioned in the preceding text? Is it a concept you except the reader to be familiar with?
October 22, 2016
You should use "a" "The" would be used if you were talking about an specific feminine sea.
October 22, 2016
α....
October 22, 2016
Song, Jeung Hyeon
Language Skills
English, Korean
Learning Language
English