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Here's another one concerning the usage of the definite article that I've been wondering about....

[1-1] I went into the faculty room, and talked to teachers.

[1-2] I went into the faculty room, and talked to the teachers.

Some of my friends whose first languages are English told me upon hearing [1-2] they feel I talked to all the teachers in the office whereas with [1-1] I may not have talked to all. What do you think makes them feel so? The designates "teachers" as the teachers who were in the office. More so with [1-2] because there is the than with [1-1]. Is it that the teachers in [1-2] are so explicitly more quantified because of the; thus, implicitly you are more convinced that I talked to all the teachers in the office? Part of the reason why I'm uncertain is that with [1-3] clearly you cannot head to all the rides out there in one dash; even there is the you do not mean all.

[1-3] We went to the new theme park with over a hundred rides Sunday. As soon as we arrived at the amusement park, our kids dashed to the rides.

Thanks in advance. Any and all enlightenments and comments would be very welcome.

Hiro/ Sendai, Japan
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Hi, CJ. Hi, Paco.

Good discussion! And, lucid explanations, CJ.

I especially like your view on the tendency to mark sentences with generic plural nouns as describing a habit. Generic plural nouns are used sometimes to render an emphatic effect: e.g.”Mangoes are high in fibre but low in calories and sodium,” to mean, “Mangoes, if not other fruits, are high in fibre but low in calories and sodium,” But never have I looked at them in terms of habitual description.

I was reading the latest version of Reader’s Digest a while ago, and wondered what change in meaning it would make if you added “its” as in the following. I don’t presume you would be able to add “the” there even if you allow a shift in meaning. Or, would you?

[1] Walters sat down with Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. The Association is the most vocal force in U.S. religion today, with 40 million members.

[2] Walters sat down with Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. The Association is the most vocal force in U.S. religion today, with its 40 million members.

Hiro/ Sendai, Japan
I don’t presume you would be able to add “the” there even if you allow a shift in meaning. Or, would you?
Adding "its" is possible, and it doesn't change the meaning. In a way, adding "its" is redundant, since we can easily infer that the members are "its", i.e., the Association's. Including or omitting "its" is merely a nearly insignificant stylistic choice.
You presume correctly about the use of "the" instead of "its" in the same position. It is not idiomatic. No native speaker / writer would put "the" in that position.

CJ
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Much obliged, CJ, for such a quick response.

Actually the original text was not with "the Association is" but with "they are." Can "its" still sit with the sentence? How about "the"?

[1] Walters sat down with Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. They are the most vocal force in U.S. religion today, with 40 million members.

Why do you think "the" would not be used, CJ? With the 40 million members (of the Association) sounds okay to my non-native ear, but out of my gut feeling I presume it is not used.

Thanks.

Hiro/ Sendai, Japan
They are the most vocal ..., with [ (their) / *its / *the] 40 million members.

"their" is again a stylistic variant; it is informal in tone.

The "with" phrase is equivalent to
They are the most vocal. They have [*the] 40 million members.

The ungrammaticality of "*with the 40 ... members" is the same sort of ungrammaticality seen in "*have the 40 ... members". An indefinite expression is required (because this is the first time in the presentation that these people have been mentioned).
In the next sentence it would be possible to talk about the 40 million members, because then "the" would show that we are referring back to the same 40 million members mentioned in the previous sentence.

CJ
Hello, Calif Jim.

I see .... If one other piece of information besides 40 million members is introduced in a construction such as below, would you use "the" for 40 million members?

They are the most vocal. The 40 million members do a lot of activiities inside and outside their churches.

Hiro/ Sendai, Japan
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Yes. That is a possibility. This is an example in which the referent can be deduced from previous information, even though the exact same noun does not occur earlier.

They are .... [Their / The] 40 million members do ....

Here's a similar example:

We needed to get to the train station. We hailed a taxi. The driver was a friendly sort of man.

We deduce that the referent of "the driver" is the driver of the taxi, of course. We don't need to have a previously occurring indefinite expression to deduce this. We don't need this strange sort of sentence:

We hailed a taxi which had a driver. The driver was a friendly sort of man. Emotion: smile

CJ
Hello, Jim.

I've never thought of the way to break the sentence down into such two separate ones. A sentence becomes easy to analyze. Thanks.

Hiro/ Sendai, Japan
Hi, CJ.

It's me again. How careless of me! I should have specified which breakdown I was referring to in my last post. I meant the following from your post before your last. And I was a bit slow in reacting to it.Emotion: embarrassed

They are the most vocal. They have [*the] 40 million members.

Hiro/ Sendai, Japan
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
My brains ...phewww. In my post before my last,

"A sentence becomes easy to analyze. Thanks" should have been "The sentence becomes easy to analyze. Thanks."

Me and my brain ....

Hiro/ Sendai, Japan