General Writing and Grammar Help/THE giraffe



First of all, thank you for your wonderful answer to my last question.

I studied your answer. You say, "The definite article is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular," right?

Well, I found the following sentence in a grammar book:

"THE giraffe is the tallest of all animal."

Here is my question: What is the function of "THE" in front of "giraffe" in the above sentence? Does it mean that we are talking about a PARTICULAR giraffe?

I look forward to another great reply from you
All best

First, it would be: The giraffe is the tallest of all animals. (Plural; as all animals on the earth)...........

"The" is used to refer to a specific or particular member of a group. A giraffe is a particular animal. Of a group of animals, bears, wolves, lions, tigers, zebras, etc., the giraffe is a particular animal in a group of animals you could possibly list........ even dogs, cats, ferrets; any and all animals. But, you are speaking of a particular animal, the giraffe.

"The" is a definite article and used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular. (a giraffe which is a specific animal of the animal group) and "the" signals that the noun is definite, that it refers to a particular member of a group.

For example:

"The dog that bit me ran away." Here, we're talking about a specific dog, the dog that bit me.

When you say:

"The giraffe is the tallest of all animals," you are stating that a particular animal, the giraffe, is the tallest of all animals which is a group: lions, tigers, zebras, wolves, bears, dogs, cats, ferrets, etc......... Out of all of the group of animals, the one specific animal- the giraffe, is the tallest of them all..........

You could say: " Giraffes are the tallest of all animals." There, no article is used.

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Jannie Balliett


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