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Questions tagged [generic]

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2 answers
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Why does generic “the” sound wrong when referring to some classes of things?

“The” can be used as a generic term for a class of things, e.g. “The elephant is the largest land animal.” This sounds fine, as does the more specific “The African elephant has larger ears than the ...
ReallyBigRock's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
39 views

Using singular language to discuss generality [duplicate]

I am somewhat confused by the use of singular langauge to discuss generally true statements, for example: A cat is smarter than a dog. The intention of this statement is to say that in general any ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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What is the more precise name for the noun-phrase 'The Native' / 'The American'? [duplicate]

Been having a nightmare with this: in a phrase such as 'The native knows all this, and laughs to himself every time he spots an allusion to the animal world in the other's words' (Franz Fanon), or '...
LPEnglish's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
49 views

The Usage of Generic Article "a" Plus Singular Noun

I would like to ask the following question about seemingly generic article "a" plus singular noun as I could not find posts that sufficiently covered this topic. I read short passages about ...
Tom's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
43 views

the + noun describing a person to imply a generic concept

I am writing documentation for an online store platform. Can I use a construction like "the customer" in a generic sense, when it is supposed to mean "any customer of any online store that uses the ...
Hopohopo's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
152 views

The use of the definite article to refer to generic nouns

I was reading John Lawler's dissertation on the use of generic nouns and found the following example sentences. correct : (A) The unicorn is a mythical beast resembling the horse. correct : (B) The ...
cp_noname's user avatar
  • 167
0 votes
0 answers
287 views

Tests for checking if a noun is generic

I want to know if I should use 'Ø article' before a plural noun that is qualified by a relative pronoun clause. One way of knowing it is to ascertain if the noun is one of generic generalization (if ...
Sssamy's user avatar
  • 395
2 votes
1 answer
145 views

What is the generic term for the distinction between left and right eye?

I'm writing an ophthalmology-related tutorial, and I need to reference the distinction between left and right eyes — for instance, if I'm referring to this case information: "Male; 29 years old; Left ...
user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
201 views

A handgun vs. Handguns

In high school debates, we have resolutions or topics. This month our topic is: In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned. Many debaters will specify a certain type ...
John Beavers's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
41 views

Debate, Bare plurals and Injustice [duplicate]

In high school debate, we have resolutions or topics. This month our topic is, "In the United States criminal justice system, jury nullification ought to be used in the face of perceived injustice." ...
John Beavers's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
285 views

Debate, Bare Plurals, and Mass Nouns

The current high school debate resolution is “Resolved: In the United States criminal justice system, jury nullification ought to be used in the face of perceived injustice.” Although the resolution ...
Henry Wu's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

When writing a formal report is it bad to make up names when giving an example?

I was giving an example and was trying to immerse the reader in the experience as much as possible and made up a man's name. Consider the following example: Joseph is testing a program built for ...
Celeritas's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
2k views

The history of the use of "man" [closed]

The pronoun 'he' used generically, as well as a lot of words including "man-kind" or generic "man" are sex-biased and are not acceptable. However, not so long ago, they were the proper used terms for ...
Thursagen's user avatar
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