Chino Alpha
Usage of general terms? How to tell if a word is a gernal term? I often come across the likes of such sentences: 1.A butterfly is an interesting insect.(general statement?) 2.Salmon(s), tuna(s) and herring(s) are three important fishes.(scientific general statement?) 3.Salmons, tunas, and herrings are three important fish.(general statement?) 4.Salmon(s) are an important fish.(general statement?) When I look up a noun in a dictionary, I can't tell if it is a general term. Are there any rules about how to tell if a noun is a general term? Like "crop" is a general term, but "insect" , "flower" are not. Then what about "vegetable" "bread" "food" "alcohol"...?Are they general terms? And I don't know when we should put a "the" before the name of the subject or add an "-s" to it when making such sentences? For example, 5.(The) croissant and (the) naan are two important bread(s). 6.(The) wine and (the) bear are two common alcohol(s). 7.(The) bread(s) is/are an important staple food. 8.(The) bread(s) is/are important staple foods. ??? Thank you.When I say general terms, I mean... For example, we can say "Potatoes are an important crop",but we can't say "Roses are a much loved flower", because "crop" is a general term whereas "flower" is not. I was told that "fishes" and the plural form of fish names are used in scientific context, so I wonder if sentence like "Salmon, tuna and herring are important fishes" are correct. Last but not least, would you please check each example sentence individually? Thank you.
Nov 20, 2016 1:27 PM
Answers · 12
Hi, Chino I also don't know what you mean by "general term", but all of the first sentences are general statements. A scientific statement would be something with more scientific words. For example, regarding and referring to medicine or to educate someone on something ("Salmon, tuna, herring are three important fish because of the fact...") Describing something in general terms is to describe something without giving too much info. The list you gave are just nouns. 5. "The...breads" because "are" refers to more than one "bread" 6. "The...alcoholic drinks" ("alcohols" sounds like different types of solutions in an experiment...) 7; 8. Bread is an important staple food
November 20, 2016
Just to add a tip, English is a language developed to consider brevity (using as few words as possible to express an idea) , as long as the meaning isn't compromised, as good and powerful writing and speaking style. So when you construct an English sentence try practicing by using as few works as possible without losing your meaning. Don't say "the " unless you have to ("bread is my favorite!" Not "breads are my favorite." No one says "breads" unless you say "these breads are different (varieties) ". English hates redundancy (but you still hear it a lot in colloquial English. One expression drives me nuts, but native speakers use it all the time, is "back when he was alive, he said xyz." What's with the "back when he was alive" phrase? Do dead people talk? Of course someone is alive when they say something! So not only is the sentence needlessly wordy, no one needs to know the person is dead unless they ask. And the sentence is illogical. And as to the "roses are a much-lived flower" I can guarantee you that phrase is 100% correct and whoever told you that is wrong is simply wrong him or herself. The only thing is I'd put a hyphen between much and loved. Maybe that makes it an adjective or something but the sentence is fine. My hunch is that many teachers of English are not native speakers and are just relying on misinformation when they make assertions like that. You can be a much-loved person, vegetable, profession, and anything in English. It just means we'll-liked ". Good luck with your language learning and don't sweat the small stuff.
November 21, 2016
I don't know what you mean by general or gernal terms because I'm a native speaker and, like every other native speaker, just learned by hearing and speaking. Hence, some things sound right and some not. First, in the first 8 sentences leave out the "s's" and the "the's". They don't make any sense and no one talks like that. Just as an example never say "fishes." Nobody says that. The only time I've ever heard "fishes " is in the sentence "all the fishes in the sea" and that sounds like something out of the King James Bible from 1611. And you don't need it anyway. "All the fish in the sea is just as good, in fact better. The plural of fish IS fish. Plus the phrase with alcohol is wrong. Wine and beer contain alcohol but they are not alcohol. Plus there are various kinds of alcohol and all are toxic. The only one that you can consume is ethanol, and that's the one in wine and beer. The phrase is "alcoholic beverages." Plus, it is not incorrect to say "roses are a much-loved flower." A lot of native speakers say that. Also, be careful in using "bread" in a plural like "breads." Although it might not technically be an incorrect plural, it's almost never seen. Bread alone is a plural form. If you went into a store and said "I'd like to buy some fishes, breads, etc" you'd either get a funny look with the clerk immediately knowing you were a tourist, or they'd hit the floor laughing. You wrote "When I say general terms, I mean... For example, we can say "Potatoes are an important crop",but we can't say "Roses are a much loved flower" ( as I said WRONG", because "crop" is a general term whereas "flower" is not.(Total nonsense. Don't know who taught this to you but it's false.) I was told that "fishes" and the plural form of fish names are used in scientific context, so I wonder if sentence like "Salmon, tuna and herring are important fishes" are correct.(like I said, drop the "es" on fish. It's wrong.)
November 20, 2016
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Chino Alpha
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Japanese
Learning Language
English, Japanese