I had an English exam today and there was this question:
"The settlers moved onto the Indians' land, and while ____ two groups sometimes got along, they fought when food became scarce.

a) the
b) a
c) this
d) that"

from this text:

I answered "that"; the right answer is "the".
Is it right? Isn't it matter of choice?


  • 2
    'that' can only occur with singular nouns (for example 'that dog'). But 'the' can occur with singular or plural nouns (for example 'the dog' and 'the dogs'). In your example 'two groups' is plural. Thus, 'that' CANNOT be used, but 'the' can. – GoldenGremlin Jun 7 '16 at 18:46

Demonstrative that and this are used only with singular nouns; the sentence specifies two groups, which would require a plural form those or these. A likewise is used only with singular nouns.

Consequently the only acceptable answer is the.

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