+0

Matthew 18:1-4 reads: “In that hour the disciples came near to Jesus and said: “Who really is greatest in the Kingdom of the heavens?” So calling a young child to him, he stood him in their midst and said: “Truly I say to you, unless you turn around and become as young children, you will by no means enter into the Kingdom of the heavens. Therefore, whoever will humble himself like this young child is the one who is the greatest in the Kingdom of the heavens.”

Why is the definite article not used in the first instance of the word “greatest” while it is used in the second instance?

+1
anonymousWhy is the definite article not used in the first instance of the word “greatest” while it is used in the second instance?

It's the author's choice. It could have been written with 'the' in the first sentence and not in the second. Or with 'the' in both places; or without 'the' in both places.

CJ

+0

It's not modern English.

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
1 2
Comments  

The KJV reverses that:

18 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
anonymousThe KJV reverses that:

I rest my case.

CJ

According to the rules of grammar, the definite article “the” is used with adjectives in the superlative form. If an author has a choice whether to use the article or not, why has there been a rule saying that the article should always be used with adjectives in the superlative form?

anonymous

According to the rules of grammar, the definite article “the” is used with adjectives in the superlative form. If an author has a choice whether to use the article or not, why has there been a rule saying that the article should always be used with adjectives in the superlative form?

I don't think that rule is completely accurate, though it may apply most of the time (Note: It's not the most of the time, even though most is a superlative).

I suspect native speakers tend to drop "the" when a superlative follows a linking verb, but there may be other explanations of why and when "the" is dropped.

CJ

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.

One of the reasons why the definite article is not used with the word “most” in some instances seems to be that the word “most” also has the meaning “very.”

One dictionary defines the word “most”:

Very: "a most welcome relief."

The above sense is different from the superlative form which is formed by the addition of the definite article.

Alexander3

One of the reasons why the definite article is not used with the word “most” in some instances seems to be that the word “most” also has the meaning “very.”

One dictionary defines the word “most”:

Very: "a most welcome relief."

The above sense is different from the superlative form which is formed by the addition of the definite article.

While that is true, there are also cases where "the" is omitted even when "most" does not mean "very" in the sense you describe. Those cases are more difficult to explain. Emotion: smile

CJ

Show more