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Hi,

I have difficulty trying to clearly understand the logic (or rules??) behing the use of the indefinite article for a content in quotation marks. Please help.

GG wrote:

Do you understand the use of the progressive?

I went to the store/I was going to the store. I ate breakfast/I was eating breakfast.

With the -ing form, you want to talk about something else that happened WHILE that was happening. You don't use it all by itself (in most cases) - you would usually have a "when something else happened" that goes with it.

I think you can treat what is in the quotation marks as sort of a noun and using an definite article is fine, but the circumstances around using an indefinite article is what gives me an uneasy feeling. Could you be able to tell me something about this?

He responded with a dismissive, "Nah."
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Believeryou would usually have a "when something else happened" that goes with it
You would usually have an accompanying clause that indicates when something else happened.
You would usually have a when-something-else-happened clause that goes with it.
Very informal.
It's not restricted to the indefinite article.
CJ
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Singular would be, "Let's have a big thank-you for our terriffic team!"

I guess "thanks" is a fixed idiom, as is "thanks a lot" which makes not a whole lot of sense.
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You have a bag of assorted fruit. "I guess I'll have a banana."

You have a bag of assorted words and phrases. "I replied with a "no thanks."

Is there a question on the progressive? Did you want examples of the "when something else happened"?
 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
Thank you, Avangi (and CalifJim). That was a fine assortment of answers. My many thanks to you.

I think it is CalifJim who said in a past post that you can treat what is in quotation marks as a noun, and based on that, I think I can go on to assume that the indefinite article 'a' can be placed if a person is thinking of 'an instance' of that noun.

Then, what is the singular form of 'thanks' as in my complimentary comment you at the top of this post?

a thanks?? a thank-you??

many thanks many thank-you's??
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 Avangi's reply was promoted to an answer.
BelieverI think it is CalifJim who said in a past post that you can treat what is in quotation marks as a noun
That doesn't sound like something I would say! Emotion: smile
You can place any part of speech in quotes.
CJ