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Thank you for checking my question.


1 Please write the number 7 here.

2 Please write a number 7 here.


In sentence 1, “7” is the word in apposition to “number.” That’s why the article “the” is in 1.

In sentence 2, “number” is just a noun adjunct here. That’s why the article “a” is in 2.

So, is there a difference between 1 and 2 in meaning and nuance? ( I think this is also true in nouns like “letter A”)

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LittleshiroThat’s why the article “the” is in 1.

I have never heard of that "rule."


I would use sentence #1.
There is only one number seven, so "a number seven" does not make sense to me.

You can use "a" in this sentence:

2. Write a symbol for the number 7.

Examples:

vii

VII

7

٧

Or any of the other glyphs under "7" on this chart. There is also a historical development of these symbols in different languages.




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Littleshiro

1 Please write the number 7 here.

2 Please write a number 7 here.


In sentence 1, “7” is the word in apposition to “number.” Yes. That’s why the article “the” is in 1. That sounds reasonable in the given context.

In sentence 2, “number” is just a noun adjunct here. I can't make myself understand it that way because I don't see "number" as a modifier of "7". That’s why the article “a” is in 2. No. The noun-adjunct+noun structure does not require the article "a". (the chicken soup; the brick wall)

So, is there a difference between 1 and 2 in meaning and nuance? Yes. ( I think this is also true in nouns like “letter A”. Yes.)

I think the difference might be seen as a difference in the purpose for making the request.

In sentence 1 it seems to me that the speaker just needs the number 7 to be written somewhere, though it is unclear why the speaker cannot or does not do that for himself. Perhaps the speaker is disabled in some way.

In sentence 2 it seems to me that the speaker may want a handwriting sample from the person, thus, "an example of how you write a 7", though it is unclear how just a single number would be enough. In this scenario we have to think of this as just one of several requests of this kind.

CJ

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Thanks a lot.
 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
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Thank you, AlpheccaStars.

Thank you, CJ.