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Why have used "attendance" and "enrollment" but not "the attendance" and "the enrollment"?

 
 
Reply Sun 17 Jun, 2012 03:26 am

Context:

Li Xiaolin is a Chinese businesswoman. She is currently the CEO of China Power International Development (SEHK: 2380). She is the only daughter of former Chinese Premier Li Peng and his wife Zhu Lin.[1] She was trained as a power generation engineer at Tsinghua University. She claims to have spent time as a visiting scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, however MIT stated that the only record it has of attendance by a student with Li’s name was enrollment in a “non-degree short course” open to anyone who has “intellectual curiosity” and pays $7,500 for 15 days of classes.[2] Currently, she is the only female CEO of a Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed company.[3] She is also a member of the Copenhagen Climate Council.
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JTT
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Reply Sun 17 Jun, 2012 12:31 pm
@oristarA,
Why have [used] "attendance" and "enrollment" been used but not "the attendance" and "the enrollment"?

OR

Why [have] has the author used "attendance" and "enrollment" but not "the attendance" and "the enrollment"?

This provides a good example of when English speakers would use the passive, Ori. The focus is on the action, not on the obscure writer/speaker.

========================

however MIT stated that the only record it has of attendance by a student with Li’s name was [an] enrollment in a “non-degree short course”

I'd say because it's more general than specific. Note the specificity in 'the only record' but MIT can't state for sure that that particular student, [a student was the Li Xiaolin in question.

Note the 'an' I've added to 'enrollment'. I've done this not to suggest that it's natural or likely, but merely to show that the issue is not yet a specific one, which could engender the use of 'the'.

oristarA
 
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Reply Sun 17 Jun, 2012 06:13 pm
@JTT,
Thank you JTT.

If it is for the purpose of being general, why not use "an attendance"? My intuition tells me that use of bare "attendance" is better, but I fail to get the grammar.
JTT
 
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Reply Sun 17 Jun, 2012 06:19 pm
@oristarA,
Quote:
If it is for the purpose of being general, why not use "an attendance"? My intuition tells me that use of bare "attendance" is better, but I fail to get the grammar.


Your intuition is operating just fine, Ori. Yes, bare 'attendance' is better and it not really an issue of grammar so much as it is semantics/pragmatics. Using 'an' would point to a single attendance which seems not to be the intended meaning - "for 15 days of classes".

"attendance" doesn't seem to collocate well with 'an', at least in the contexts in now envision, because courses usually are more than one day, which requires a person to be in attendance for more than that one day.
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