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Is it correct to write

Newcastle disease is economically significant because of the huge mortality and morbidity associated with it.

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  • I would certainly employ an article in the circumstances, but I don't think it is essential.
    – WS2
    Jan 2, 2014 at 9:12
  • Hi, Monica, and welcome to EL&U. Jan 2, 2014 at 9:48
  • I upvoted Susan's reply, below. If this is a formal paper, I would go with "the extremely high rate of mortality and morbidity". On the content: I have seen Newcastle disease ravage populations which is a shame because it's so easily preventable. Unfortunately, those who most need the inoculant are often least able to afford it.
    – Dɑvïd
    Jan 2, 2014 at 11:23
  • I am American and think the the is necessary in this case. Like @David, I find the use of huge here odd.
    – virmaior
    Jan 2, 2014 at 14:48

2 Answers 2

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It is, because mortality is made definite by associated with it. When such modification occurs after the noun, it is known as 'cataphoric'.

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  • I did a quick search of the British Medical literature, then one of British newspapers, and found that it is no different in GB than in the US. In this case, it's not a matter of grammar, but one of common usage. Or, one can say it is ungrammatical in hundreds of English usages weekly. I maintain the former. Jan 2, 2014 at 22:27
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To my ear, it sounds strange. Maybe it's just an American thing, but we tend to refer to mortality and morbidity without an article, and when we use the, it is usually expressed as *the _ rate*.

  • Placental Abruption and Perinatal Mortality in the United States
  • They took into consideration not just mortality and morbidity, but also quality of life, which is an essential measure...
  • The rate of coronary heart disease mortality was greater among lumberjacks...
  • We find that for high-seniority male workers, mortality rates in the year after displacement...
  • Societies that have achieved the lowest levels of maternal mortality have done so by...
  • What is the mortality and morbidity rate of thyroidectomy?
  • The realities of maternal mortality and morbidity in the developing world...
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  • 4
    American here, sounds weird to me WITHOUT the 'the'.
    – Rob
    Jan 2, 2014 at 14:32
  • It might be because I'm a physician. We don't use the article, not in speaking and certainly not in writing about morbidity, mortality, or both. The only time it sounds 'normal' is if one starts the sentence with M/M; then, we might say, The mortality (now, see? I wanted to type rate). We have M&M rounds. Not the M&M rounds. While TB mortality has declined fairly steadily, morbidity has been rising. —Time. That's not limited to medical professions. Jan 2, 2014 at 14:53
  • I think Barrie England's answer shows the difference -- yes, if you drop the 'associated with it' portion of the sentence, the definite article sounds odd. With it, leaving off the article sounds odd.
    – PeterL
    Jan 2, 2014 at 15:31
  • @PeterL - I'm sorry, but I disagree with Barrie as well. Jan 2, 2014 at 15:34

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