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Question a or the?

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
which is appropriate in the blank, "a" or "the"? Does only "the" sound right?

Vice President : I don't understand why nobody listens to my ideas!
Secretary : I'm sorry, sir.
VP : I am    vice president! My ideas and opinions should be listened to!
S : I'm very sorry, sir.
VP : Naomi, you are always saying that you are sorry. A good secretary doesn't say sorry all the time. Just go and leave me alone.
S : I'm sor...Yes, sir.

Thanks in advance.

Hirashin
 
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"A" is used if there are others. "The" is used if there are no others.

So in this particular context, since there is generally only one vice president in a given organization (company, government, what have you), you would use "the" when talking about the position in a particular circumstance (e.g. a particular company or government), but you would use "a" when talking about vice presidents in general (i.e. inclusive of all groups that have vice presidents).

Generally speaking, "the" would be used here, since the existence of vice presidents in e.g. other companies and governments is irrelevant to the speaker's complaint.
 

Buntaro

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I agree with Julie. Both are correct.
"I am the vice president!" (There is only one vice president.)
"I am a vice president!" (There are more than one vice president.)
 

mdchachi

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I agree with Buntaro (who agreed with Julie).
Typical companies have multiple vice presidents, usually one per division.
Some companies, specifically financial companies, have a Vice President title that applies to dozens or even hundreds of employees. I achieved that rank in a former career.
So I agree with the others. Both could be right. If he is saying that in respect to his unique position (such as vice president of the division, or Vice President of the USA) it would be "the" but if he's saying that with respect to the rank of vice president in general it should be "a."
 

hirashin

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Which does he say? (Or should I say "Which is he saying?)

It's so subtle I can't tell which.
 
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"I am a vice president!" is what is said in that audio clip. It's obvious to me, though of course we're talking about a consonant ("th") that Japanese doesn't have, so it's understandable that you wouldn't be entirely sure. Perhaps some listening practice would help, though?
 
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Huh, another "green needle"-like auditory illusion. I can hear both depending on what I listen for.

In that case, hirashin, take your pick. Flip a coin, maybe. It could be either one.
 

Michael2

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Just to clarify, I was agreeing with you Julie. Without the comma my last message would have meant the opposite to what I intended. The joys of the comma :) There is no "th" sound there.
 
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Yeah, I know. But I can consistently hear either version depending on what I'm listening for, so I'm not 100% convinced either way anymore.
 

mdchachi

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I would still bet money on it. I uploaded a version with 30% slower tempo. If you still don't hear the "the" then I don't know what else to say...
 

Attachments

  • I am __ vice president-slow.wav
    568 KB · Views: 50

Michael2

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md, you are hallucinating :) click on the 1 second mark repeatedly and isolate the sound. it goes ai a ma There is no "th"
 

hirashin

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Thanks for all your help.

To tell you the truth, I thought it was "I am a vice president," but the script says "I am the vice president." That's why I asked here. Considering the situation of the drama, I think it should be "the" because his company has the only vice president. The narration later says, "The angry young man's name is Kazuma. He is the vice president of Clemens Holdings".

Although I hear "I am a vice president," I guess mdchachi is right.
 
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