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The definite article 'the' has many usages. However, I cannot quite understand one usage, that is, 'used to mark a noun as being used generically'. What does it mean by 'noun being used generically'? Can anyone please shed some light on this and set some examples.
An example for this use is 'The dog is a quadruped.'
How can I distinguish if the author is expressing a generic noun/idea instead of specifying something in front of 'the'?
Readers interested in this question might like this question here:
That question is about using generic noun phrases with nationalities.