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Hi,

I have just read an article from The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/02/world/europe/02ukraine.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=ukraine&st=cse ) and come across a place where I believe the the article is more appropriate.

Across Kiev last week, people spoke of rising anger about the crisis and resentment toward a government that they said was more preoccupied with squabbling than with rallying the country.

Does the author here just want to underline some unimportance of the government or what? Should it be "toward the government" instead?

Thank you.

Best regards,
Olex
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Comments  
Olex:
Welcome to the forum!
The use of the indefinite article is correct here. "A government" means any one of a group of governments. It stresses that some governments have the behavior of rallying rather than squabbling, and other governments have the opposite behavior. They happen to have a government out of the first group. It also implies that it is the nature of their government to be that way.
Thank you for the fast reply, AlpheccaStars. Now it seems I understand what the "a" implies here. In other words, it tells you the people do not like the type of government they have. Correct?
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Olex:
It does not go that far. It just says that the people are protesting a kind of government that squabbles rather than making progress. "Type of government" is broader, and means a form such as communism, monarchy, oligarchy, democracy, etc. Any of these types could get bogged down and not make progress.
olexbo I understand what the "a" implies here. In other words, it tells you the people do not like the type of government they have. Correct?
I'm not suggesting you do this, but when you use a "being verb," the indefinite article seems quite natural.

This is a country which squabbles.

My country is a country which squabbles.

You can praise as well as condemn.

This is a country which provides its people with safe streets and an affluent life style.

My country is a country where all citizens are treated fairly by the courts.

The people rallied to show their support for a government which has kept its promises, virtually eliminating unemployment.
olexbo... anger about the crisis and resentment toward a government that they said was more preoccupied with squabbling than with rallying the country.
It's the following restrictive relative clause that stops the author from writing the. If he wrote ... toward the government that ... was more preoccupied with ..., he would be asking the reader to identify one particular government among many with these characteristics. But we already know which government is being referred to. There is no point in identifying which government it is on the basis of the description that it was preoccupied with squabbling and so on.

So this is like saying We have a government that acts in this way.
With the, it's like saying They resent the government that acts this way, but not the other governments that don't act this way. (This doesn't make sense because the sentence is only about one government, not about identifying one of several governments that the sentence may be about.)
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You could do this as a non-restrictive clause with which:

... anger about the crisis and resentment toward the government, which they said was more preoccupied with ...

but it wouldn't have exactly the same meaning.

CJ
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Olex, has written well. We use "The" before the name of author or in the group of government to show the surety. However, I have studied about article from here: http://englishlearningpractices.blogspot.com/2009/03/use-of-article-in-english-grammar.html . The author of the "Article uses" writes, "It is used for known".
Hi Riturj

The sentence that Olex asked about was written correctly with "a". Did you read what CalifJim wrote?

I took a look at the site you posted, and it is full of grammatical errors. Although I'm sure the author of the site is trying to help people, the explanations given are so simplistic that many, or even most of them are bound to mislead you (as has apparently happened in this case). In addition, there are so many grammatical errors on that site that you will most likely end up learning a lot of bad grammar.
I would not recommend using that site to learn good grammar.
Thank you for all your replies. Here I will explain what confused me.

1) I mistakenly identified "that they said was" as a restricted relative clause, which requires "the" before "government" (which in turn comes before "that") and now I see that it is not the case.

2) I know this use of the "a" article when you "refer to a kind of, or example of something" (http://www.edufind.com/english/grammar/Determiners3.cfm ):

the mouse had a tiny nose
the elephant had a long trunk
it was a very strange car

In the past I may haven't paid enough attention to the usage of "a" in the middle and before "that" as in the original sentence so I failed to identify "toward a government that" being that case.

Now with all you help, I perceive the original sentence in the following way.

...anger about the crisis and resentment toward a government (what kind of/type of government, bad, good, etc?) that they said was more preoccupied

Thank you again.

Best regards,
Olex
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