Why is "a" used here?

4

This pain that has troubled me on a Sunday evening...

Why "a" instead of "on Sunday evening"?

What's the difference?
It's like not every Sunday evening but every other week or so?

it's present perfect...so from the past until now, on Sunday morning on a regular basis? –

user25470

Posted 2015-11-20T03:50:47.293

Reputation:

what is the source? or it's your own sentence? it sounds wrong to me because there, the author is not talking about 'any Sunday evening' but the evening s/he had pain on. – Maulik V – 2015-11-20T05:15:42.053

You are using (the?) Present Perfect tense, and at the same time you are using a specific time expression (Sunday evening). Present Perfect does not usually combine with specific time expressions. – CowperKettle – 2015-11-20T07:28:41.787

2It sure would help if you included the rest of the sentence. – J.R. – 2015-11-20T09:41:06.467

Answers

1

Coupled as it is with the present perfect, "on a Sunday evening" there could be paraphrased "on Sunday evenings". No particular Sunday, but regularly on Sundays. Compare "of a Sunday evening" here:

On the other hand, there is the Paris which is disenfranchised, the Paris of honest labourers and their wives who dance happily of a Sunday evening and whose children play on the city's streets unmolested...

P.S. See also the sentence about customary acts and occurrences, which begins at the bottom of page 109 in the left-hand column here, and continues with examples in the right-hand column.

Tᴚoɯɐuo

Posted 2015-11-20T03:50:47.293

Reputation: 116 610

"This pain that has troubled me on a Sunday evening" -- doesn't at all means that the pain has troubled the speaker on more than one Sunday. – djechlin – 2015-11-20T23:13:49.407

@djechlin: see the P.S. I've added to the answer. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2015-11-21T12:43:47.507

That should be in your answer and not passed along as a footnote, especially since it contradicts the rest of your answer. – djechlin – 2015-11-21T16:02:06.943

@djechlin: Why do you think it is contradictory? I used the word regularly which is synonymous with customary. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2015-11-21T16:04:42.453

Actually it just doesn't add any information at all. Where is "customary act" defined or described? – djechlin – 2015-11-21T16:06:39.587

If, as you say, it didn't add any information at all, how could it have been contradictory? – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2015-11-21T16:19:15.147

Because I posted something contradictory to your answer, you said "see the P.S. I added," so I inferred the P.S. somehow dealt with the contradictory thing I said, which I suspect it might be, were the meaning of a "customary" act explicated. I confess I did not read it at first, which goes back to why you should post it in your answer in the first place. – djechlin – 2015-11-21T16:21:53.033

This is the internet. Click the link. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2015-11-21T16:37:33.950

We cannot say for certain, given the limited context supplied by the OP, what is actually going on there; but my answer is meant to show that this locution can refer to a customary action. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2015-11-21T16:39:16.983

This is StackExchange. Don't make people click unnecessary links that will in all probability break. None of us know what a "customary action" is. – djechlin – 2015-11-21T17:05:48.677

@djechlin: Show some ________ initiative and look it up. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2015-11-21T19:52:18.407

I already speak English. This is more about everyone else who looks at this question. Anyway it's a bad answer, I've already downvoted, we can both move on. – djechlin – 2015-11-21T20:44:20.110

No problem here with your downvote. My problem is with your statement that the information I'd provided via the link had contradicted the answer I'd given, only to have you to add that you hadn't actually read the document referenced by that link. Hence the __________ in my last comment. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2015-11-21T20:57:22.610

I still think it's ironic that you're upset at me for not clicking through a link that in the end contained no relevant information. – djechlin – 2015-11-21T21:07:12.400

@djechlin: I'm not upset. Just pointing out that you've contributed nothing but disinformation to the discussion. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2015-11-21T21:20:13.913

And you've contributed nothing to your own answer, don't know why that's not a bigger concern to you. – djechlin – 2015-11-21T21:21:49.280

Well, you're apparently unrepentant, so _________off. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2015-11-21T21:31:01.697

No idea why you're more worried about getting an apology from me than writing a good answer. I'm one person who isn't an English learner, this answer has already been seen by over a hundred people who are. – djechlin – 2015-11-21T21:35:56.300

2

This sounds like the first sentence of a novel or story. The writer is establishing the setting or context - it is a Sunday evening, but he or she doesn't say which: it could be last week, it could be six years ago, it could be in 1910.

djechlin

Posted 2015-11-20T03:50:47.293

Reputation: 514

2

"on a Sunday evening" is less specific than "on Sunday evening"

"On Sunday evening" would usually mean "on the evening of the most recent Sunday".

"on a Sunday evening" even can mean one single Sunday evening, or on many Sunday evenings.

The "a" emphasises the vagueness of when it happened. Troubled is a statist verb, so it could be that the condition continues to this day, implying it might be that it will return again on some future Sunday evening.

Euan M

Posted 2015-11-20T03:50:47.293

Reputation: 2 400

Premature keypress interrupts play – Euan M – 2015-11-20T04:34:18.957

I have now learnt the different between present perfect continuous and present perfect. Ty. – Euan M – 2015-11-20T04:46:35.040