Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Here's the sentence from Wall Street Journal:

...eight individuals have been deported on grounds of national security.

Instead of this, if one says,

...eight individuals have been deported on the grounds of national security.

Any difference?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

I can find two rules to define this :

  1. No article is needed before abstract nouns used in a general sense.
    2.Articles are not needed in more abstract expressions of situation like to/at sea, to/at/out of work, in/out of town, in/out of office, etc.

I have a feeling that your expression on the grounds of would fit in as an abstract expression, as grounds is an abstract idea, not literally the ground.

Thus, whether or not you have the definite article doesn't matter. The meaning doesn't change, and there's no difference.

share|improve this answer
    
The only difference to a reader is that "on the grounds of" could mean in a physical location, so there may be a slight mental jolt when they hit the words "national security". Omitting "the" eliminates this since "the" is required in phrases like "on the grounds of the National Mall". –  David Schwartz Aug 30 '11 at 0:21

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.