Archive for January 2007
I’m having to revise my PhD thesis (minor corrections) and one item on the list of corrections pertains to my use of articles. The internal examiner wrote:
Page 16, line 3, should read ‘new media’, not ‘the new media’. The use of such prepositions [sic] before ‘media’ and other nouns should be reviewed throughout the thesis. Example, p. 71 ‘the TV’, ‘the magazine’, p. 76 ‘the telephone’, p. 94 ‘the tv’
Now, I didn’t think I had many problems with articles these days. I proofread a non-native friend’s MA thesis and corrected many instances of incorrect article use. I thought I had cracked it.
Apparently this is not the case. I’ve tried narrowing down my specific problem with it, and I think it concerns mainly ‘the’ vs. ‘no article (omission)’. Here are two actual examples from my thesis:
The commercial advent of the new media, especially the digital computer and the Internet, has revived popular and academic interest in Marshall McLuhan’s theory of the media.
Similar to the TV, the World Wide Web (WWW) too is defined by a high degree of remediation.
I *think* my problem is that I use ‘the’ when contrasting two or more nouns and my reasoning is that, when contrasting, you’re referring to something specific or particular and therefore, the direct article is necessary. In the above example, consider the following:
The commercial advent of the new media [as opposed to the old media], especially the digital computer and the Internet, has revived popular and academic interest in Marshall McLuhan’s theory of the media [i.e. not the cinema, not the new media].
I can see it looks odd now myself. I’d really appreciate it if someone could point me to references or articles dealing with this particular problem. I need to understand exactly what it is and why I’m getting it wrong before starting with my corrections. My thesis is 320 pages long and it will take a few days to actually read it all and correct the article situation. I can’t really afford not to understand it and then having to read it again :(