General Question

Ticce's avatar

The use of articles?

Asked by Ticce (35points) 1 week ago

What articles should be used here? Can you explain the difference?

1 Is it easy to strike a balance between personal life and work life?
2 Is it easy to strike a balance between a personal life and a work life?
3 Is it easy to strike a balance between the personal life and the work life?

It seems to me that 3 is correct. What do you think?

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18 Answers

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Response moderated (Spam)
Lightlyseared's avatar

No 1 is correct. No native English speaker would use 2 or 3.

Zaku's avatar

I recognize #3… from Italian, where the definite article is used to mean the term in general, like that. The opposite is done in English, as Lightlyseared already wrote, as in #1.

Yeahright's avatar

Can you explain the difference?

1. Sentence #1 is correct.

2. There are a couple of basic rules for the use of definite and indefinite articles.

3. One rule for the definite article the is that it is not necessary when speaking in general terms—as in this case.

4. Articles are used to make things more specific.

5. The noun phrases in #2 and #3 could also be used in more specific contexts, in which case these sentences need to be rephrased from questions to statements, e.g.,

There is a difference between having a personal life and a work life.

It is not easy to strike a balance between the personal life and the work life of a celebrity.

It seems to me that 3 is correct. What do you think?

It is not correct, given that it is a general statement (question), and that it lacks context or other elements in the sentence to justify the use of the.

Ticce's avatar

@Yeahright I beg your pardon. But when you say that 1 is correct then whose personal and work lives do you mean? 3 is correct in my opinion because it implies the personal life and the work life of a specific person. While one tells us about nobody’s lives which we want to strike a balance between.

Yeahright's avatar

@Ticce

But when you say that 1 is correct then whose personal and work lives do you mean?

Anyone’s, really. That is what general means. It is just personal life vs. work life in general. It lacks the name of a person or any other context to think of one person in particular. I thought the question was about the use of the article or lack thereof. The lack of article in #1, as I stated in my previous entry, suggests that this is a general question.

3 is correct in my opinion because it implies the personal life and the work life of a specific person.

Again, #3 is out of context. It doesn’t specify one person in particular. So, the use of the definite article is not correct. It doesn’t say Is it easy to strike a balance between the personal life and the work life of Mr. X? In which case, the use of the would be justified/required.

That is what articles are for, to specify.

@Lightlyseared told you above that only #1 is correct., but you wanted to know why. I told you why.

smudges's avatar

I vote for #2. Since you make no mention of a person, I take it as referring to life in general. But I’m sure I’ll be told why I’m wrong.

Ticce's avatar

@Yeahright OK. Why is this:
Is it easy to strike a balance between a personal life and a work life? – WRONG

but this is OK
There is a difference between having a personal life and a work life.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Because English grammar unlike most other languages grammar tends to make it up as it goes along. Generally.

Ticce's avatar

@Lightlyseared “Because English grammar unlike most other languages grammar tends to make it up as it goes along. Generally.” Good joke.

seawulf575's avatar

Either #1 or #2. It would depend upon the context of the questions…what reference they are being used in. in #2, the noun being addressed is LIFE. Personal and Work are adjectives. So the article “a” is appropriate. In #1, it could be that something leading up to this particular question created the nouns PERSONAL LIFE and WORK LIFE as labels for the concept of time spent at work and at home. In that case, it could be that #1 is correct.
If these questions were on an interview, for instance, it is possible that none of them are the most correct and the article “your” should be put in front of Personal and Work.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Ticce Its not a joke.

Yeahright's avatar

@Ticce
There is a difference between having a personal life and a work life.
Because of the inclusion of the word difference in your new statement. It forces you to use a determiner in both noun phrases. You have to establish the relationship between two specific things.

Yeahright's avatar

@Lightlyseared
If it is not a joke, then you have to revise the grammar rules that govern the English language. There is a lot of lexical flexibility compared to other languages but not grammatical changes. Grammar is a key element in maintaining the unity of a language and ultimate successful communication.

Yeahright's avatar

@seawulf575
In this type of analysis, sentences have to be taken as they are, i.e. without context.

…in #2, the noun being addressed is LIFE. Personal and Work are adjectives. So the article “a” is appropriate.

In all three sentences the noun phrases (personal life and work life) are the same—not only in #2. So, that is not a reason to require the indefinite article a.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Yeahright yeah…. Im going to assume you’ve never taught English as foreign language? I thought so….

Yeahright's avatar

@Lightlyseared Well you will have to contact my school district about that because my job title is ESOL teacher and that’s what I get paid for.

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