• the Chinese invented the paper
  • the Chinese invented paper

I can't decide which article we get before paper — zero article or the.

Are we talking about paper in general (so zero article is used before it) or is the definite article the used?

marked as duplicate by Andrew Leach, mplungjan, Bradd Szonye, Kris, Kristina Lopez Oct 31 '13 at 14:10

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If you are talking about paper in general you never use either the definite nor the indefinite article. You would only use 'the' if you were speaking of some specific paper. e.g. 'The paper in the photocopier is getting low'.

  • this is the sentense i have got in my English exam the teachers say it should be zero article because they are talking about paper in general but,we-in the exam-can't decide if they are talking in general or for a specific paper.As a result i just wanna have the best answer – Kathrine Oct 31 '13 at 14:00
  • 1
    @Kathrine. If you mean the sentence in your OP, the correct version is 'The Chinese invented paper.' There are several errors, however, in your comment above. You need to write in sentences with full stops and capital letters. The word 'I', is always capitalised. And there is no such word as 'wanna'. I think you mean 'want to'. – WS2 Oct 31 '13 at 20:46

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