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Thread: the floor

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    the floor

    a window, a wall, a door, etc. But why ''the floor''?
    Is it an uncountable noun? Can I never say ''a floor''?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lena.from.Russia View Post
    a window, a wall, a door, etc. But why ''the floor''?
    Is it an uncountable noun? Can I never say ''a floor''?
    A - You're putting in a new floor?
    B - Yes we're putting in a floor.

    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by fortheether View Post
    A - You're putting in a new floor?
    B - Yes we're putting in a floor.

    Scott
    I was told that when you are talking about something not for the first time you should use the definite article.
    A- You're putting in a new floor?
    B - Yes we're putting in ''the'' floor.
    because we are talking about the definite floor. Or am I mistaken?

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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lena.from.Russia View Post
    I was told that when you are talking about something not for the first time you should use the definite article.
    A- You're putting in a new floor?
    B - Yes we're putting in ''the'' floor.
    because we are talking about the definite floor. Or am I mistaken?
    This dialogue does not sound very natural because the important information inquired about by A is "new". There was a floor before the one being currently put in. Nobody would say "we're putting in the floor" here because it makes it sound as if there hadn't been a floor there in the first place. On the other hand, A could enquire "What are you going to do next?" and B could reply "We are going to put the floor in next" - here you have a first mention with a definite article because a room only has one floor and the type of floor is not important.

    To tell you the truth, I never noticed how damn difficult the correct usage of articles is before I met Russians trying to come to terms with the concept. No matter how hard I try to explain all the shades of meaning conveyed by the articles, I never seem to be able to define them fully and clearly. You have my sympathies.
    Спасибо за исправления!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitpicker View Post
    This dialogue does not sound very natural because the important information inquired about by A is "new". There was a floor before the one being currently put in. Nobody would say "we're putting in the floor" here because it makes it sound as if there hadn't been a floor there in the first place. On the other hand, A could enquire "What are you going to do next?" and B could reply "We are going to put the floor in next" - here you have a first mention with a definite article because a room only has one floor and the type of floor is not important.

    To tell you the truth, I never noticed how damn difficult the correct usage of articles is before I met Russians trying to come to terms with the concept. No matter how hard I try to explain all the shades of meaning conveyed by the articles, I never seem to be able to define them fully and clearly. You have my sympathies.
    Thanks Robin. It's really hard for Russian people to use these 'a'/'the' articles because we have no articles in Russian as I am sure you know. Yes, I thought that a room has only one floor and that's why the floor is used. But what if the room has also one window but we say 'a window'?

    I just had a list of words - a window, a door, a plant, etc. and the floor was the only word that was used with the definite article. Maybe because we can say windows, plants, doors, etc. and I am not sure we can say floors in plural?

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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Floors in plural would usually refer to different levels in a house. 1st floor, 2nd floor etc. I suppose that a definite article was used because rooms tend to have just one floor. Probably the same would have occured with "ceiling".

    The room has a window - this means that there is a single window in the room.
    The room has windows - obviously more than one.
    The room has windows facing towards the beach - more than one, and more than one facing towards the beach, but possibly others facing elsewhere.
    The window in the room faces towards the beach - in this case you state that there is just one window, and it faces towards the beach.
    A window in the room faces towards the beach - here we can be sure that there are more windows, but none of the others face towards the beach.

    Not possible: An only window in the room faces towards the beach. You can't use "an" and "only" here at the same time. It's a contradiction: "An" implies more than one, and "only" puts the number at exactly one.
    Not possible: The room has the window. You would expect some additional property to define this specific window as a reason for the article.
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

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    Спасибо, Robin!

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