Why is it ''the MRT will close'' and not ''an MRT will close''?

''There is a protest so the MRT will close.''

If we use 'an' with vowel sounds and 'the' with consonant sounds and M sounds like em why is it 'the'?

If the subject MRT is already understood between the speakers does it override the the an rule?

Why do we sometimes completely omit the or an?

''I play piano.''

''I ride horses for a living.''

4 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    11 months ago

    MRT refers to one particular transit system, the Metropolitan Rapid Transit. You use "the" because there is only one, as in "the White House" or "the United Kingdom." The fact that its meaning is understood does not change its name You do not say "he lives in a United Kingdom" even though its meaning is understood. If you were using MRT in a context where the indefinite article was appropriate you would indeed use "an." "Is there an MRT station near here?"

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  • 11 months ago

    You are mixing up two different rules. We do not use 'an' with vowel sounds and 'the' with consonant sounds.

    We use 'a' with consonant sounds and 'an' with vowel sounds.

    We use the when we mean a specific example of a thing.

    I was at the concert last night. You say that when the listener knows which concert you mean.

    I was at a concert last night. You say that when they don't know what concert you mean.

    In the case of 'I play the piano', that can mean that you are playing a specific piano or it can mean that playing the piano is something you do but you don't mean a specific piano but piano in general. Which one it is must be determined by the context.

    Whether or not you use 'the' in a phrase like 'I ride horses' or 'I play the piano' can vary. It's one of those things you learn by hearing it used because there isn't a fixed consistent rule. I ride horses. I play cards. I play the horses. I play piano and I play the piano mean the same thing. I tune pianos. I race. I go to the races.Some of those look very similar but the meanings are not the same.

    • Pontus
      Lv 7
      11 months agoReport

      additionally, in formal English and in many informal dialects,THE is pronounced as THEE when the following word begins with a vowel sound, & as THUH (where UH is the schwa: the a of about, e of listen, i of pencil, o of button, u of supply, etc)

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  • Anonymous
    11 months ago

    One rule is about when to use "a" and when to use "an." In this case, if the indefinite article were needed, "an" would be called for because it precedes the vowel sound of "em." BUT the superseding rule here is about whether the noun is generic or specific. Presumably there is only one "MRT" in question, so "the" is the appropriate article. As for playing a musical instrument, the definite article is optional. You can say either "I play the piano" or "I play piano."

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  • 11 months ago

    it is a very specific MRT. not an MRT, but THE MRT. Not MRTs in general either. As to the specific case of playing piano, it is not a case of playing generic pianos (I can play pianos of all types and keyboard layouts), it is the idea of the musical instrument we call piano, which is not quite the same as a physical piano. It is somewhat like I play sports, but I play baseball (not baseballs).

    The rules of usage that apply to choice of article are varied but fairly clear.

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