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I wonder about the the <noun> of <noun> template. For example, the customers of a movie theater or the possessor of a car. The question is "Is it a stable rule in English to put "the" before the first noun in this template?" Are there other instances of using this template, but without "the". I often use the structure "It is the <noun> of <noun>." For example, "It is the case of a cruel corruption." I have the same questions for this template.

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It's just a matter of time before someone answers this question. –  Mark Peters Nov 25 '11 at 21:54
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For all customers of the movie theater doesn't use "the" before the first noun, nor the phrase I am a customer of the theater. –  Flimzy Nov 25 '11 at 21:54
    
I would add, referring to the example given, that the example should read "It is a case of cruel corruption" rather than "It is the case of a cruel corruption" - which seems grammatically incorrect to me...! –  user37071 Feb 4 '13 at 17:03

1 Answer 1

The first noun in the [noun] of [noun] unit is treated as any other noun as regards modifiers, so (barring special cases such as idioms) wherever you would say the [noun1], you can also say the [noun1] of [noun2], etc.

As a corollary, it is also correct to use [noun1] of [noun2] without a the, especially if the wouldn't normally appear before [noun1] alone. Examples:

I drink a cup of coffee every morning.

Strength of will is important in a leader.

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