Using Duolingo, it marked my answer as wrong. Says it should be “I use a computer to study chinese” saying “the computer” is wrong and should be “a computer”

duolingo marked wrong image

closed as off-topic by Drew, Mari-Lou A, curiousdannii, David, RaceYouAnytime Nov 22 '17 at 16:55

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  • 1
    No, it isn't wrong if you have already mentioned the computer in a previous sentence. – Kate Bunting Nov 18 '17 at 9:03
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    The idiomaticity of 'I often watch the television / listen to the radio / polish the car in the evening' shows that the definite article is used in what are now set phrases, where ownership of the device mentioned is at least hinted at. 'On the radio' doesn't even go that far; the medium is considered definite enough. The expression is in any case considered sufficiently defining for the choice of the definite article to be fine. 'The computer' is almost certainly now in the same category (on the computer vs in the written format). I'd not consider your answer wrong. Apart from the small c.... – Edwin Ashworth Nov 18 '17 at 10:02
  • An example from the internet: ' ... the percentage of young people who use the computer is higher ...' [New Technologies in Global Societies By Peilin Luo, Leopoldina Fortunati, Shanhua Yang]. You can look for others. / That said, 'a' would be many people's choice here. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 18 '17 at 10:06
  • Both "a" and "the" sound ok to me. But even better is "I use a/the computer in studying Chinese," since it avoids the interpretation that the computer is doing the studying. – Greg Lee Nov 18 '17 at 11:34
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    What's wrong is that you failed to capitalize "Chinese". – Hot Licks Nov 19 '17 at 14:12