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General Writing and Grammar Help/RE: Keep something straight

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Question
Dear Ted:

At the end of your answer to my question about the meaning of "to keep something straight," you wrote this:

*** Yes, but in this sense, the phrase usually means that you keep the "someone" from drinking and/or using drugs.  John has been straight for six months.

My question is the following:

Why did you use the article "the" before "someone"?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

*** Yes, but in this sense, the phrase usually means that you keep the "someone"
from drinking and/or using drugs.  John has been straight for six months.

My question is the following:

Why did you use the article "the" before "someone"?

*** I could have omitted "the," but I wanted to emphasize the word "someone."  The usage of an article before a noun or pronoun -- when it is not actually needed -- is called "the stressed article."  It simply calls attention to or emphasizes the pronoun "someone."

Another example:  This year, our team is THE team to beat.  [This year, our team will be unbeatable.]

John told his mother he had found a wonderful way to make money.  She had no idea that "THE WAY" was selling drugs.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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