English - Ms. Sue

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So in my grammar book it is these explanation:
We use the with nationality adjectives that end -ese, -ch, -sh, -ss and are used to refer to all the people of that nationality, eg. Chinese, Japanese, Spanish.
The French drink a lot of wine.
The Swiss are famous for their banks.

Are these a right example? It is in the book, so I think it has to be right... I'm very confused... And are theire nationalities without the beginnings I write above?

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    I think you mean the endings, but that's OK. I know what you mean!

    Those are the primary endings (suffixes) used to indicate the people of particular lands, but they are not all inclusive. Here are some others:

    American or Americans (-n or -ns)
    Iraqi or Iraqis (-i or -is)

    The map here is useful.

    The main answer here is interesting.

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    So I can't say
    - The Americans are good in football. -
    I have to say
    - Americans are good in football. -
    But these aren't adjectives, aren't they?

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    You can use "The" or not. It'll be fine. You would probably use "The" only when comparing American teams with other countries' teams.

    In both sentences you wrote, "Americans" is serving as a noun (the subject of the sentence). "The" is serving as an article (sort of an adjective), and "good" is an adjective.

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    That is what confused me so.
    In my question I posted what my grammar book says, with the Examples. Are the explanation totaly right?

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    Yes, the explanation is right.

    These terms will be considered nouns if they are serving in a noun's position in the sentence:

    The French drink lots of wine.
    Americans are good at football.

    But these will be considered adjectives if they are used to describe/modify nouns:

    French wine is usually excellent.
    American football is different from Italian football.

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    Ok I get this. But French wine is usually excellent wouldn't be right after the explanation. It has to be The French wine is usually excellent. Am I right?

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    Again, you'd use "The" if you were comparing, but even that is not a hard-and-fast rule:

    The French wines are usually better than the Portuguese wines.


    French wines are usually better than Portuguese wines.

    Both sentences are clear in their meaning, whether you use "The" or not. I wish this could be crystal clear for you, but this is a rather "fuzzy" thing in English!

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    So the rule that stands in my grammar book is not totally right. I can say The Amaricans are good at football even if there isn't one of the suffix that stands in my grammar book.

  • English - Ms. Sue -


    Here's another explanation about using articles (the, a, an):

    In the first paragraph here, you can tell that it's not an easy or consistent "rule" in English. This is what I meant by "fuzzy" above. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. I wish I could give you an explanation that is crystal clear, but there just isn't one.

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    I have to explain these to my classmates, so it will be better I understand it... And my grammar book confused me a lot...

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    So I just want to tell them that way.
    But why are they writing something like that in a Grammar book? Then it would be better they didn't write anything, or like by mountains they say, mountains vary. It's clear, you have to learn, or look it up.

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    Yes, it's not easy, that's for sure. It takes years and years of hearing people use any language correctly in order to learn it ourselves.

    Whenever I have studied Spanish, for example, I have a terrible time with the two verbs "soy" and "estoy" -- and with the use of "lo" -- they still confuse me!

    Keep on reading and listening to people who speak correct English. Eventually it'll become almost automatic.

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    we are all advanced learners, so we do most things automatically, and then to explain something is so difficult.. I will do my best but the rule in the book still confuse me.

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    Here are two websites in which you might find better explanations:



  • English - Ms. Sue -

    I thank you very much!
    You really helped me I'm still confused but it is better.
    If an other big problem come up with articles I will wirte it again.

  • English - Ms. Sue -

    You're very welcome!


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