Is this proper English "They have church building, but they're not church."?

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In a script I am working on a line is phrased within the movie: "They have church building, but they're not church."

It is our job to edit the lines and make it more natural for the American audience so therefore I suggested: "They have a church building, but they're not a church.". In my view the line needed those articles to be more natural and to make sense, but my associates disagreed.

Can anybody articulate the answer to this problem? Is it proper to say "They have church building, but they're not church."?

MovieScriptGuy

Posted 2015-06-16T19:28:20.913

Reputation: 53

3Which country are you from and which one are they from? In any case you need the articles. This is often a problem for people whose native languages don't use articles. – user3169 – 2015-06-16T20:23:16.607

Answers

6

You're right:

They have church building, but they're not church.

is missing articles.

They have a church building, but they're not a church.

Depending on the context you could say:

They have the church building, but they're not a church.

with roughly the same meaning as above. However it would not have the same meaning if you used the definite article in the second clause:

... but they're not the church.

as this would generally be read as The Church, the institution, rather than a church, denoting a building or community.

amblina

Posted 2015-06-16T19:28:20.913

Reputation: 966