Under( the certain )conditions, a rainbow appears at the end (of) a( rain shower)
(in the quarter) of the sky opposite the Sun.

Mr. Micawber has taught me before that the determiner 'the' before a word in the plural form is generally unnecessary. But I do see some words in the plural form have their determiners - 'the'.

So, in this question, is choice A wrong?
1 2
No, choice A is not wrong. "certain" in this meaning ("some unspecified") is always indefinite; it's not used with "the", which is a definite determiner.

Emotion: smile
Thanks a lot, CJ. Emotion: wink

But I have another question I haven't gotten the specific answer. I hope you allow me to post here. (Sorry I should've started it as a new thread for you people to track it more easily, but I've already created one about this before. And NON C took the time to respond it. I really appreciate it. But he didn't give me the specifics. And he seems very busy these days. He didn't respond to my post any more.)

Here's the quote,

The question goes like this,
"Fibers of hair and wool are not continuous and must normally be spun into thread ___ woven into textile fabrics.
(A) when to be
(B) if they are to be"

Now I got stuck here. It's easy to tell B) sounds better though.

However, when you look at A) for a while, you will find it's OK too. 'Cause there's a grammatical rule that states "it's/they're.." after when can be omitted.

Anyway, 'when' seems better to me than 'if' here. So... I really got caught in the dilemma. Hope you can help me out.

(In addition, the answer is B. I just want you to convince me that the choice A is wrong.)

Thak you!!
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When and If are called adverbial complementisers (this is just a fancy way of saying that they open new clauses) and they seem to like you to restate the subject. So, in (A), you do not get a repeat of the subject, but you do in (B).

Think about the following:

"The children are happy when they are playing" cf. "The children are happy when are playing"

Hope that helps,


EDIT: I've just seen what you said about when, and "when playing" seems ok in the example I gave. I suspect this might be to do with the passive construction, but maybe one of the more experienced members can give you a more definitive answer!


The children are happy when are playing

Dear Roadrunner,
Why didn't you leave are out together with they ? Then it will be like,
'The children are happy when playing.'

It's the same as the choice A,
'Fibers of hair and wool are not continuous and must normally be spun into thread when (they are) to be woven into textile fabrics.'
Yes, as I mentioned above, I only saw that after I'd posted.

I suspect the problem here is an interplay of lots of rules, and certainly something about the "to be" seems to require a subject and verb.

Perhaps a more experienced member will be able to give you a distinct rule violation here.
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That's why I posted this question twice, RR. But don't worry. We have super-moderators here.

Anyway, thank you so much.

Dear CJ,
Don't hold your breath that you can ignore my posts (by the way, is it a correct sentence?). I will keep bumping the thread up on and on till you respond to it. Emotion: smile
That is a rather aggressive statement! Emotion: smile
Some of us have real jobs and only answer posts in the little spare time we have. I hope you will continue to be considerate and understanding on this point.

Now let's get to your question. I'm going to add a third choice to make it more interesting.

"Fibers of hair and wool are not continuous and must normally be spun into thread ___ woven into textile fabrics.
(A) when to be
(B) if they are to be
(C) when

The answer is (B). It says that the fibers must be spun into thread (first) if they are going to be used to make fabrics - if they are going to be woven into fabrics (later).

(A) is clearly wrong. "when to be" is not a grammatical expression here. The point you make about omitting forms of "to be" after "when" would mean that the "to be" should be omitted. That would lead us to choice (C).

Choice(C) is the second best of the three, but, of course, it was not a possible choice in the original problem. It says that the fibers must be spun into thread when woven (i.e., at the same time as they are woven) into fabrics. It is certainly possible to use this sentence, but it means something ever so slightly different from the one which comes from (B). The difference is in the fine points of the time sequences implied.

Calif Jim

Emotion: smile

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