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.

  • 2
    All of these are required for ordinary idiomatic English.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 24, 2013 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, 2013 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. Feb 24, 2013 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, 2013 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 …”). Feb 26, 2013 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.


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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