What's the reason to use a definite article here? I found this awesome example: ''This Pro model is fast and snappy. Of THE 2 testing programs I use the 860 Pro has outscored everything else I've ever tested.'' As a reader, I don't know what programs he means and it was never said before. The only hint is ''I use''. This part of the sentence shrinks the possible variants and is the only possible reason to use THE. If no, then I just have no idea what happens with this little word. So simply put, the author of the review uses THE and then makes clear what programs he means by adding "I use''. And even though I as a reader do not know the name of the programs the part ''I use'' forces the author to take THE instead of nothing.
Oct 4, 2019 7:35 AM
Answers · 2
You are right about the idea of 'shrinking the possible variants'. In fact, the possibilities are not only reduced - they are LIMITED to just these two. That is the function of the definite article: it restricts. The use of the definite article tells us that the writer uses ONLY these two programs and no others. We use 'the' to refer to particular, specified nouns and to exclude all others. For example, if someone says "Those are programs which I use", we know that they use many different programs and these are just two of them. Likewise, if they say "That's a program which I use", we know that this is only one of several programs which they use. The use of the indefinite article (singular) and the zero article (plural) indicates the existence of other things in this category. However, if someone says "Those are the programs which I use", we know that they use only those two programs. Likewise, "That is the program which I use", we know that it's the one and only program which they use. The definite article excludes the existence of other things in this category. I hope that this explanation makes sense.
October 4, 2019
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