Why indefinite?

Questions from teachers about English grammar and usage

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rowan
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Why indefinite?

Unread post by rowan » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:50 am

I'm marking a students homework and have come across the phrase "the increased chances of the local extinction for this specie" and I'm having trouble with "the local extinction" as I think it sounds more natural to say "a local extinction of this species" but I can't explain why. This is talking about a specific event so I want to say it should be 'the' but my heart says indefinite. Any help? Cheers
Rowan :D

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Joe
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Re: Why indefinite?

Unread post by Joe » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:54 am

Maybe with "local" the indefinite article is possible since you can indeed have multiple local extinctions as opposed to only one global extinction. But depending on your viewpoint (geographically - are you looking at THIS locality or many?) the definite article might also be possible. Hard to say without more context.

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cerealkillah
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Re: Why indefinite?

Unread post by cerealkillah » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:11 pm

You can't put indefinite article before "extinction", because it is uncountable noun. I would omit the article. If we want to talk more specifically and to differentiate this extinction from another, we should add a noun, for example "instance of extinction", though in my opinion it looks a bit clumsy.
It is the same as with "evidence", "information" or "advice". We have to use "piece of" if we want to make it plural.

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Re: Why indefinite?

Unread post by NiallHoughton » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:27 pm

Your idea to use the indefinite article could be appropriate as it can have the function to be a form of one e.g. A local extinction, refers to one extinction.

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