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My supervisor corrected the draft of my thesis, inserting a lot of articles here and there. I have doubts if he was correct. Could someone comment on the following sentences?

Over the last decade a lot of companies recognized [the] importance of data warehousing and business intelligence technologies to their businesses. Complex queries can significantly decrease [the] performance of a source system. [The] Availability and quality of data is crucial for this process. Because of [the] standardization of SQL, [the] technical heterogeneity could be solved automatically.

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All of these are required for ordinary idiomatic English. –  Colin Fine Feb 24 '13 at 17:22
    
Thankk you. I always have problems with articles. Is there a nice, easy to remember set of rules? I know the basic rules, like when we talk about something particular, we put "the". But, in my opinion, "importance of data warehousing" is quite general term, that's why I omit the article. –  damluar Feb 24 '13 at 17:26
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Actually, @damluar, that "the" makes sense but the "the" added to "(The) Availability and quality of data..." seems unecessary. –  Kristina Lopez Feb 24 '13 at 17:59
    
@ColinFine, could you please explain why we need "the" in "decrease the performance"? Isn't it a general performance? –  damluar Feb 24 '13 at 18:41
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I agree with ColinFine, Kristina, and tchrist: all the additions are good, but the third (“[The] Availability and quality of data”) and the fifth (“[the] technical heterogeneity”) could go either way. But I believe everybody missed another problem: I would say “The availability and quality of data are crucial …”). –  Scott Feb 26 '13 at 4:46

2 Answers 2

I would agree with all the corrections, but it could be argued that not all of them are strictly necessary for it to be grammatically correct. In "[the] importance of data warehousing" it is definitely necessary. In "[the] standardization of SQL" it should be there, but could conceivably be left out, giving it a more generic sense. But on the whole I would leave them all in and agree with your supervisor.

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I've noticed that almost all cases where your supervisor added "the" involve constructions with "of". I've been told you'd most often use "the" in such phrases ("the X of Y"), e.g.: the joy of singing, the limitations of the web, the content of this website, the initiatives of NGOs, etc. I've stuck to this rule for quite a long time now and I don't think I've ever been corrected.

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