NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ865060
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1475-1585
The English Definite Article: What ESL/EFL Grammars Say and What Corpus Findings Show
WonHo Yoo, Isaiah
Journal of English for Academic Purposes, v8 n4 p267-278 Dec 2009
To ascertain whether what ESL/EFL grammars say is informed by what scholars discuss in the literature and supported by what corpus findings actually show, this paper first presents a brief overview of the literature on the English definite article and then compares popular ESL/EFL grammars' coverage of "the" and corpus findings on definite article usage. The main findings of the study can be summarized as follows. First, although most ESL/EFL grammars provide examples of all the uses of "the" discussed in the literature, they are usually provided under such a general explanation that learners must figure out for themselves the differences of each use. Second, the distinction made in the literature between "the" and the "most definite" null article has not been embraced by ESL/EFL materials writers, and it is doubtful that it will ever be, considering that this distinction seems to have few obvious pedagogical applications. Finally, the finding that most ESL/EFL grammars discuss in detail the anaphoric use of "the," while overlooking situational and cataphoric uses, should be cause for alarm in light of the corpus findings that anaphoric use is not as common as situational or cataphoric use in conversation, newspaper language, or academic prose. (Contains 3 tables.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A