When we want to refer to a specific noun, we use the definite article 'the'. When the noun is followed by a defining clause, again we use the defining article 'the'. My question is why the following sentence does not have the article 'the'? The who-clause seems to require the article.

People who haven't got cars can't stop at these out-of-town stores

Moreover, if I want to refer to, say, some cookies that can be find at a particular store, should I say:

Rolo Cookies are cookies (that are) sold at Tesco.


Rolo Cookies are the cookies (that are) sold at Tesco?

Another example:

"Make that change" is a/the??? slogan written on the Oriflame eye shadow pallet.

Could someone explain why sentence #2 in the question is ungrammatical because there i is no explanation why the article is used: Use of article in front of product names

marked as duplicate by MrHen, RyeɃreḁd, David M, anongoodnurse, MetaEd Mar 7 '14 at 20:55

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  • You might use either of those choices. However both are redundant with regards to cookies. "Rolo Cookies are sold at Tesco". – Elliott Frisch Mar 6 '14 at 16:48

Why do you think that a noun followed by a deliminiting (defining) clause needs a definite article?

A fox is a mammal that lives in fields and woods.

People who need help in the museum should ask a guide.

A friend [who is] in need is a friend indeed.

The definite article is generally used to identify a specific or unique object.

He is the man who rang the bell.

Of all mammals, it is only the echidna who lays eggs.

In one of your examples, the addition of the changes the meaning of the sentence

Rolo Cookies are the cookies (that are) sold at Tesco?


Rolo Cookies are cookies (that are) sold at Tesco?

These are not the same. The first suggests that Rolo may be the only type of cookies sold at Tesco. The second gives no such connotation.

When you are referring to a class or category of things, the definite article is often not used unless that class is unique in the characteristics or actions you are describing.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. People who live in brick houses shouldn't either.


The people who live in the glass house are the ones who threw the stones.


It may aid comprehension if we analyse the first example, in slightly different form.

'People who haven't got cars use public transport more often'.

Here we are not speaking about any specific group of people, but simply people in general, who do not have cars. Therefore the definite article is not used.

But if I say:

'The people who do not have tickets for the school play, will be able to watch on a TV screen in an adjoining room'.

Here it is more usual to employ the article, but it is not essential.

However in:

'The people who have tickets numbered 67, 68 and 69 have won a prize.'

The more specific we make it the more essential it is to use the article, which is almost *de rigueur * in this sentence.

When we get down to:

'The people who telephoned this morning but didn't leave their name, have tickets waiting for them in the office.'

Here the article is essential since it is a specific group of people of whom we are speaking.

  • I was thinking that those who do not have cars are a separate group. Not having a car makes them a group. But I see your point. Thank you. – darkbluecherry Mar 6 '14 at 17:30

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