General Question

shorty's avatar

Can you end a sentence with "the"?

Asked by shorty (244points) March 8th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

brownlemur's avatar

You just did!

Mtl_zack's avatar

yes. it can be substituted for an improper noun. an example is the elephant roams the gountryside. it can also be expressed as the countryside is teming with the. it is a very old fashioned way of writing. however, you have to state the context.

also, you can finish a french sentence with “le” or “la” or “les” which are the masculine, feminine and plural forms of “the”.

gailcalled's avatar

Please clarify. It sounds interesting but I really don’t understand how “the elephant roams the gountryside (sic)” is a sentence ending with “the”. “the countryside is teming with the” doesn’t make much sense.

I’d also love an example of a French sentence with any of the aforementioned le, la, les mentioned above. Thanks.

Mtl_zack's avatar

the word “the” in thi context is an elephant, so you can replace the word elephant with “the”. also, the french is “les elephants sont tout autour les plains”, “les elephants, les plains sont plein avec les”

gailcalled's avatar

You wouldn’t say, “Les éléphants… les plains y sont pleins” ?.

I don’t think that the idea works in English. “The elephants, the countryside is teeming with them” is awkward at best, and ....” The elephants, the countryside is teeming with the” is unacceptable.

Mtl_zack's avatar

as i said, it is a very old way of saying it, and the word “them” derived from the word “the”. its just plural. also, what you said in french means “the elephants, the fields are full”. it doesnt mention the elephant, which is what the fields are filled with.

BioTechWarrior's avatar

the question asked ended with it LOL

gailcalled's avatar

@Bio: see brownlemur’s response #1.

@Mlt: Thanks. But isn’t “the” the direct article and “them” the plural of “he”, “she”, “it”?

And speaking of elephants,do you know the old Grouch Marx joke that illustrates a dangling participle? “I shot an elephant, standing in my pajamas.”

How about this; “Les éléphants, les plains sont pleins avec eux”?

Well, je vais me coucher et rêver d’éléphants.

Mtl_zack's avatar

that french phrase also works.

“the is derived from “it” whose masculine and feminie are “he” and “she” and “them” is the plural form of the derived “the”. they are very similar, just an “m” added.

segdeha's avatar

My favourite word is “the”.

gailcalled's avatar

Mine may be “elephants.”

@Mtl; Do you live in Québec? You are obviously bi-lingual.

breedmitch's avatar

Some of the answers can be so blithe.
Look! I just did it.

bigwei's avatar

I am ending this sentence with “the”.

Mtl_zack's avatar

yes i live in montreal

gailcalled's avatar

English is my first language and “the” is the indeclinable definite article. However, my dictionary says that Old English, as you mentioned, had other forms; viz: thone, thaes, thaere, thaem. Thanks for alerting me to that. I am a language maven and love learning this stuff.

Now, how about, “Les élephants, les plains en sont pleins”?

Or “Grace à Di*u, les éléphants sont complètement disparus”.

Mtl_zack's avatar

the first one, the “en” should be replaced by a “y”, and in the second one the “sont” should be “ont” because the verb that needs to be conjugated (disparer), is not under the exceptions hat fall under the group of “etre”

cwilbur's avatar

There’s nothing incorrect about Gail’s French.

In the first sentence, replacing ‘en’ with ‘y’ changes the meaning (from “the elephants: the plains are full of them” to “the elephants: the plains there are full”) and both are correct grammatically.

In the second sentence, changing the verb also changes the meaning, from “Thanks to G-d, the elephants are completely gone” to “Thanks to G-d, the elephants have completely disappeared.” Both are grammatical, but the meaning and the tense of the verb change. Ordinarily, the verb ‘disparaitre’ takes ‘avoir’ as an auxiliary verb, but it’s perfectly legitimate to use the verb ‘etre’ with a participle as a predicate adjective.

And replying to the original question: ‘the’ is an adjective that makes no grammatical sense without a following substantive. Unless you’re using it to refer to the word specifically, and not in a grammatical function, then no, you can’t end a sentence with ‘the.’ Unless, of course, you’re creating some kind of word salad experimental poetry, in which case all bets are off.

Allie's avatar

how about “what the..?”
i guess thats more of an expression than a real sentence.

gailcalled's avatar

@allie; that is clearly not a sentence nor a sentence fragment either.

Allie's avatar

gail: got it. =]

cwilbur's avatar

@gailcalled: I believe it is a sentence fragment, with an elliptical construction—the necessary substantive following ‘the’ is elided (because of its profanity, it’s left to the imagination of the hearer/reader), as is the predicate (because it can be inferred). “What the (****) (is going on)?”

So we’ve found one construction in which ‘the’ can meaningfully be used to end a sentence fragment.

gailcalled's avatar

@cwilbur; Thank g*d for the nuns. They had my 9th grade English teacher sobbing in the dust. I will concede that the construction works..and what a lovely one it is.

So in TM, could a prude simply write WT..?

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther