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Please check my sentences (2)

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,

Would you please check my sentences again?

1a) Uncle George runs/jogs in the park almost every morning.
1b) My uncle George runs/jogs in the park almost every morning.

2a) The chicken has wings.
2b) A chicken has wings.
2c) The chicken has wings but can't fly.
2d) A chickenhas wings but can't fly.
I have difficulty understanding the usage of "the" in a general statement.
For example, I'm sure you can say:
The horse is a useful animal.
"The horse" in this sentense doesn't mean a specific horse.
If so, can 2a be a general statement? Can it have the similar meaning to 2b?
And can you also say 2c instead of 2d?

3a) This car is far more expensive than mine.
3b) This car is much more expensive than mine.
3c) This car is a lot more expensive than mine.
3d) This car is lots more expensive than mine.
3e) This car is even more expensive than mine.
Can all of the above be used with almost the same meaning?

4a) There are many cherry trees in my neiborhood.
4b) There are a lot of cherry trees in my neiborhood.
4c) There are lots of cherry trees in my neiborhood.
4d) There are plenty of cherry trees in my neiborhood.

5a) I have worked for the company since I graduated from college.
5b) I have been working for the company since I graduated from college.
Would both be used interchangeably?


Thanks in advance.

Hirashin
 
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Serelonde

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'The' is used when you are referring to a specific individual of the noun. 'The chicken' is referring to a specific chicken, 'a chicken' means that the information given could refer to any individual chicken.
The exception is that you can replace a plural noun being used to refer to the entire set of individuals with 'the' followed by the singular noun - "horses are useful animals" / "the horse is a useful animal"
 

lanthas

 
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2) "The horse is useful"/"The chicken has wings" are valid sentences that talk about horses and chickens in general, but they sound like they come from a nature documentary. "The owl is a bird of prey" when introducing a documentary about owls etc. In conversation, you'd simply say "Horses are useful"/"Chickens have wings".

3) There are slight differences. "Far more" is stronger than "much more" and "lots more", that is, there is a bigger price difference between the cars. Also, 3e) adds an extra bit of information. a) to d) only say something about his car: it's more expensive than yours, but we don't know how expensive your car is - it might be cheap or expensive. e) on the other hand shows that both cars are expensive - yours costs a lot, and his costs *even more*.

4d) is also ever so slightly different from the rest. a) to c) simply state that there are many trees, but d) emphasizes that there are enough trees to satisfy you (or your conversation partner).

Also pay attention to the spelling of "neighbourhood" (British English spelling)/"neighborhood" (American English spelling). The "gh" is silent when pronounced, but still needs to be included in writing.
 
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hirashin

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Thanks for the help, Serelonde and lanthas.
Sorry. I'll pay more attention to spellings.
 

Majestic

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The posters above have done an admirable job in explaining things. Let me add my two cents.

1(a) is less clear about whose Uncle George you are talking about. It could be your Uncle George, or it could be somebody else's Uncle George. It could be a third-person narrator speaking about someone's Uncle George.
1(b) can only be your Uncle George.

This doesn't mean 1a is wrong. They are both correct grammatically.

2(a~d) I think the posters above me explained this as well as it can be explained. The dinosaur became extinct / Dinosaurs became extinct. Just a stylistic difference with no substantive change in meaning. Your 2(a) can indeed be a general statement, identical to 2(b). In fact, I think it can only be a general statement. If you want to make it specific you have to say "This chicken has wings" (presumably to differentiate it from chickens without wings...). And yes, your 2(c) is interchangeable with your 2(d).

3 and 4 > I think the difference in any of these is pretty subjective. They all have virtually the same meaning (except, as lanthas says, 3e indicates your car is expensive, while the other sentences are silent or vague on the question of whether your car is cheap or expensive. Regarding the relative values of "far more", "much more", "a lot more", etc. its all impossible to quantify, so not worth spending too much time on.

My personal opinion is that "lots" has a casual quality to it that is fine for everyday speech, but in writing I think it should be avoided unless your intention is to sound colloquial, or if you are talking about parking lots.

Just to digress for a second, one of my many pet peeves is the misspelling of the words "lots". It is very common to see people misspelling this as "lot's". Makes my inner English teacher want to burst out and scold the offending person.

Yes, 5a and 5b are interchangeable.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the help, Majestic.
 
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