the young people/young people

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the young people/young people

Post by navi » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:41 am

One person says: "In our city, a lot of people go to parks."

Another replies:

1) It's young people who do that.
2) It's the young people who do that.

3) Young people do that.
4) The young people do that.

Are all the sentences' acceptable in this context?
Do they have different meanings in this context?
Does '2' and '4' necessarily imply that all of them go to parks?


Re: the young people/young people

Post by Phil White » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:55 pm

Grammatically, they are all fine.

They are all generalizations (with or without the article). The generalization is stronger with the article, but is never taken to imply that all young people behave in the same way.

If you were to dissect the sentences far too finely, 1 and 3 would mean that "the people who do that are young", whereas 2 and 4 would mean "This is the (kind of) thing that (most or all) young people do".

In reality, in spoken English, that distinction is not there.
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: the young people/young people

Post by Lancer21 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:06 pm

Phil White explained it much better than I ever could; I got the same idea, but couldn't word it as well.
If I can help with an example, I could say this:
Two pensioners are talking: "Hey, ddo you use the Internet connection on your TV?"
"No, it's young people who do that" : in this case, the pensioners are talking about how the Internet is a young people thing, and that they're too old.
"No, it's the young people who do that" : in spoken English, it could mean the same thing as above, but here, it would rather be about either the young people who regularily come at the pensioner's house (grandchildren, their friends...) and use the Internet on the TV while the grandparents don't need it, or about how all young people use the Internet on their TV.

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