泛指(GENERIC REFERENCE)和特指(SPECIFIC REFERENCE)是每年高考必考的一组概念，在英语中广泛使用。“泛指”是指普遍、不确定的人或事物，而“特指”则是指具体、特定的人或事物。在实践中，这两个概念是可以灵活运用且相互转换的。下面分几个方面谈谈：
说起“泛指”，我们马上想起不定冠词(a/an)，其实不带冠词的不可数名词和复数名词都可以表“泛指”， 有些表“不定”概念的限定词(another, some, a few, most, enough, hundreds of, plenty of等 )也可以充当这个作用。例如：
I want to buy a book/some books. Books are of great use. Air is all around us.
I will stay there for a few days/another few days.
“特指”经常由定冠词(the)或表“特定”概念的限定词(物主代词，指示代词，名词所有格等)来充当。假如将“中国的第二大河流”说成 “China’s the second longest river” 是不妥当的， 因为China’s 和the 在“特指”的概念上是重复的。“那个门破了的教室”既可以译成 “the classroom whose door is broken”也可以说成 “the classroom the door of which is broken”，因为 “door” 前应该有个表“特指”的限定词。同样，“with one’s help/ take one’s place” 可能在另一场合会变成“with the help of/ take the place of”。
在表达“倍数”时，我们常常看到这样一个公式：“倍数 + the + 名词(size/height/ length) + of ”。如果把它改为“倍数 + 表特指的名词/代词”就可以更好理解的下面的句子了：
① The size of the newly broadened square is four times that of the previous one. (that=the size)
② I offer ten times the money that Antonia has borrowed. =I offer ten times what Antonia has borrowed. (what=the money that 定语从句)
③ You can’t imagine that rats eat 40 to 50 times their weight.(their weight=the weight of rats)
1.① I spent many happy hours with them.
② This picture reminds me of the many happy hours I spent with them.
2.① I bought a few books in the bookstore.
② The few books I bought in the bookstore are written in English.
3.① I don’t feel like drinking water.
② I don’t feel like drinking the water from this well.
4.① Cotton played an important part in Industrial Revolution.
② The most important thing about cotton in history is the important part that it played in Industrial Revolution.
5.① I have done a little to help you.
② I hope the little that I’ve been able to do has been of some use to you.
另外，在一些限定词的后面只能接泛指的名词，如：a lot of, plenty of, dozens of, hundreds of等。然而，有些却可以增加一个 “of”，便只能后接特指的成分：
some (students) some of (the students)
a good many (people) a good many of (the people)
most most of (us)
a dozen a dozen of (these apples)
five hundred five hundred of (them)
1.When the spaceship traveled above, a new-looking earth appeared before us, an earth that we had never seen before. 当宇宙飞船在上空运行时，一个全新的地球出现在我们面前，以往我们都不曾看过。
2.It is a world of wonders, a world where anything can happen.(2004福建卷)
3.It’s really fun to walk alone with a full moon hanging in the sky.
4.Having been overseas for half a century, he returned and found himself in a brand-new China.
本来“the earth/ the world/ the moon/ China”都是特指的，但是，如果增加一些修饰成分之后，指不同时期、不同角度看到的或不同形状的“地球、世界、月亮、中国”的话，它们就转化为泛指了。
5.I knew a John Lennon, but not the famous one. (2005高考山东卷)
John Lennon是一个著名歌手，当然是特指。句中的a John Lennon= another person whose name happened to be John Lennon, 是泛指。
6.① He, who led the USA through these years, was shot on April 14, 1865 at a theatre in Washington, D.C.
② He who doesn’t reach the Great Wall is not a true man. 不到长城非好汉。
第一个He=Abraham Lincoln，是特指，要用非限制性定语从句;第二个He= anyone，是泛指。
7.①—What new subjects are you going to have in the second grade?(特指)
—I’m going to learn a second foreign language.(表“又一”，泛指。)
② No one can have a higher IQ (=an IQ which is even higher) than the taller of the twin brothers.
③ The most diligent student in our class have a most(=very)interesting book.
一般情况下，在比较级、最高级、序数词中用 “a/an”表“泛指”，用 “the”表“特指”。