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e.g) Do you live in a town or in the country?

In this question, can i say '' do you live in a town or in a country?'' as well??

if i can't, why do i have to use 'a' in front of 'town' and 'the' in front of 'country' ?

I'm very confused in using 'a' and 'the'

please help me~
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Comments  
a country - a nation (like Poland, Italy, Australia, etc.)
the country - land outside cities (not a specific village, just outside cities)

Now I think you're clear about this Emotion: smile You have to be really carefull using 'country', as you see Emotion: smile

When you say: "I live in a town" you mean that you live in one of many towns (that's why "a")

When you say: "I live in the country" you mean that you live outside cities and towns (e.g. on a farm).
You can also say: "I live in a village", which means that you live in a very small town in the country. ("a" because it is one of many)

Now, do you see the difference between "the country" and "a village"?
I think of the story of the city mouse and the country mouse.
Living in the country (rural) is a different way of life than living in the city (urban).

Saying "I like the city / I like the country" is similar to saying "I like the summer / I like the winter." You're not talking about a specific city (London) or a specific country (Brazil).

Unfortunately, towns and villages don't follow this pattern. If you say "I live in the village," you're referring to a specific village. If you want to refer to "village life," you'd say "I live in a village."

Of course you can say "I live in a country."

But the sentence "Do you live in a town or in the country" requires parallel meanings, if not parallel articles. Which kind of living is yours?

I don't think there's any way to explain why "I like the town" means "I like Gulchville" and "I like the country" means "I like country life."
This useage of "the country" and "the city" is not exactly a common thing. I can't think of very many like it. Perhaps, "I like the ocean." You mean, the ocean in general. Not the Pacific Ocean. I think you could say, "Did you travel on the ocean or on the land?" You don't mean a specific ocean or a specific land.
But this doesn't work for towns and villages!
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Hannah89 ... can i I say do Do you live in a town or in a country? as well?
No. A town is a bounded area of land. A city is a bounded area of land. town and city are both countable, so you use a: a town, a city.

The country is unbounded land outside of towns and cities. In this meaning country is not countable, so you don't use a: a country.
_______________

[In a different meaning that means nation, country is countable:

France is a country.
China is a country.

But this meaning of country is not used in the sentence you gave.]

CJ
Ah, yes. So simple.
"Town" and "village" each have only one meaning. (countable)

"City" and "country" each have two. (countable and uncountable)
Avangi"City" and "country" each have two.
I'm having a brain quake or something, and the answer is probably obvious, but can you give me an example of city used as an uncountable? Thanks.

CJ
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AvangiAh, yes. So simple.
"Town" and "village" each have only one meaning. (countable)

You must be forgetting about
1. don't leave town
2. I'll be in town
3. he's from out of town" Emotion: big smile

By the way, can we say "don't leave village"? (I suspect not)

PS: I guess, town is countable, but in my examples, it is used in its abstract sense, right? I mean, some countable nouns can assume an abstract meaning which does not require an indefinite article.
CalifJim can you give me an example of city used as an uncountable?
I guess I anticipated this question. That's probably why I began with the city mouse and the country mouse.
When you use the boundary concept to show the difference, "city" and "country" seem fundamentally different. But as adjectives, in "city life" and "country life" they're the same.
How about the common expression, "That's life in the big city!" ??
Do you agree that in "life on the ocean," "ocean" is uncountable?
I hear these as about the same in feeling as "Do you live in the country?"

- A. Emotion: nodding
MrPernickety You must be forgetting about
1. don't leave town
2. I'll be in town
3. he's from out of town" You're absolutely right about that.

By the way, can we say "don't leave village"? (I suspect not) I've never heard it.

PS: I guess, town is countable, but in my examples, it is used in its abstract sense, right? I mean, some countable nouns can assume an abstract meaning which does not require an indefinite article. Personally, I avoid this exercise like the plague. What you say may be true, but I see students begin with abstract/concrete and try to transform it into uncountable/countable as though the relationship were absolute. I think that's dangerous ground. I don't think it's a good idea to imply that a countable noun can act like an uncountable and not be one. (Maybe it depends on whose book you're using.) I hope you'll forgive me. I'm suffering the effects of too many pain pills. Can I get back to you??

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