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Why can't I use THE here?.And does it differ in meaning if I use THE?

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closed as off-topic by user49727, choster, Kristina Lopez, Kris, John M. Landsberg Sep 24 '13 at 20:47

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What do you mean by stress? If I write about stress, I can write about stress in general, or about the stress on a particular syllable in a sentence. Like the word or in the previous sentence. –  John Lawler Sep 24 '13 at 13:50
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This question is better suited to English Language Learners.SE. –  choster Sep 24 '13 at 14:12
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2 Answers 2

Because you then need to explain what the specific stress it is you are taking about -

  • The stress of having small children
  • The stress of working as a flight controller".

Just stress is nonspecific stress

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There aren't really hard and fast rules in English for when The is used, there are only rationalizations.

My "rationalization" on this one would be that stress isn't exactly a sigular entity, like "the ball" or "the toaster" is.

However, sometimes "the" is used on stress. Particularly if its at the start of a sentence. For example, a person might say, "The stress is really getting to me". In that sentence, it would not really be correct (in AmE at least) to leave of the The.

But really, which words have a the in front of them isn't even consistent from dialect to dialect of English. You just have to memorize it.

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