There are 2 citations related to the question.

Bankruptcy of a corporation does not in itself cause dissolution.

A partnership may be dissolved by agreement of the parties.

I reckon, in the first sentence, "bankruptcy" needs an article before itself to make sense because it is also okay; but why, here, the writer did not use it? because of nuance? or because it is academic?

The same with the second sentence: why not "the agreement of the parties," but "agreement of the parties?"

The two sentences are from the same book, an introductory book of law.

Thanks for any help!

  • I don't understand what this means: '"bankruptcy" needs an article before itself to make sense because it is also okay'. – Digital Chris Mar 31 '14 at 17:05
  • 4
    First, do not expect articles to make sense; they are prone to being left out of idioms, and by agreement of is one such. Second, one can speak of (and in the law, one normally speaks of) processes like bankruptcy as abstract nouns that don't need articles unless one is referring to a particular event. So the sentences are OK as they are, and the first sentence would also be OK with The bankruptcy. It would even be OK with A bankruptcy if there weren't already an indefinite article in a corporation; without that prepositional phrase, any or no article is OK. – John Lawler Mar 31 '14 at 17:06
  • What I was asking was why there is no article even though other people use articles before 'bankruptcy.' / Thank you for your feedback Mr. Lawler, it helped a lot! – Joe Mar 31 '14 at 17:16

In the second sentence, "agreement of the parties" refers to the process by which a partnership may be dissolved; if it were to say "the agreement of the parties" in this context it could be seen as referring to the original partnership agreement or another formal contract, which is not necessarily required.

  • I have this type of question because I think I got confused with other usage of "of-phrase." For example, when it comes to "the butterflies of Africa," or "the music of the 1990s," a famous English usage book says 'the' is often used in this case calling it 'half-general.' Even though you are not sure which reference is dealt with, 'the' can be used to carry some general meaning. I got one more question by the way: are there any semantic differences? Like, "agreement of the parties" refers to any process which is action, whereas "the agreement" refers to any contract which is countable items? – Joe Apr 1 '14 at 1:20

There are two usages:

  1. to go bankrupt - this usually implies that internal problems have caused bankruptcy.

  2. to bankrupt a person or company - this refers to an outside agency deliberately causing financial ruin to another.

Bankruptcy of a corporation is usage 1.

The bankruptcy of a corporation is usage 2.

For the second question, I agree with NormDPloom.

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