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The video for American singer Taylor Swift's new song "Wildest Dreams" has been viewed more than 10 million times in the two days since it debuted.

I would like to know why the was used ahead of two days. Also, would its meaning/context be changed without using the article the?

  • It's written like that because the editor needs shooting. Its debut cannot be two days - this kind of debut does not have a fixed end - within the three hours of the meeting is not grammatical with the intended meaning [at least in British English]. The sentence is rubbish. The writer could have used since instead of of and that would have worked ... – Araucaria Oct 28 '15 at 13:53
  • The edit changed this. Previously the quote was listed as "since its debut", which was perfectly fine. I'm not sure why my answer got voted down, but whatever. – NadjaCS Oct 28 '15 at 14:50
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    @NadjaCS (and Araucaria), I reverted the quote to the form that was originally given; a "formatting edit" was approved that also changed the text under question. – Hellion Oct 28 '15 at 16:07
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    "In the two days since it appeared" would be fine by me, though. It's indicating that this is a contemporary event - at the time of writing there have only been two such days. Without the definite article, it could refer to any two out of an indeterminate number of days. – JHCL Oct 28 '15 at 16:11
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    @NadjaCS, the edit history looks to me like it was an unrelated user who "cleaned up" the question and changed the quote in the process, so I don't think you need to address the modified version. :-) – Hellion Oct 28 '15 at 16:14
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You need to use a definite article in English any time you wish to specify which of something you mean. If you leave off the, it could mean any two days, which would sound odd with since it debuted because that is also specific. But if you want to indicate that it is those particular two days that have elapsed since the video debuted, you need to use the.

If, on the other hand, you just want to say that this happened during two days at some point in history, you could leave off the (but in that case you should also leave off since it debuted).

The video has been viewed more than 10 million times in two days.

It might have been viewed more than that in total, or it might have been viewed 10 million times then the site was hacked or the server went down and no one has seen it since. It could have taken a long time to become popular over many years, or it could have been an overnight sensation. In this example, we don't know. We only know that during some 48-hour period, there were 10 million views.

In the original, we know that 10 million views occurred on precisely the first two days.

To offer another example of this difference, consider this pair.

In the Catholic faith, a Novena consists of nine days of devotion and prayer.

(Here it is any nine days, at any time of the year.)

During the nine days of a Novena, the faithful will pray the Rosary many times each day, and it is common to fast or abstain from meat, and some people also perform acts of charity.

(Here we are talking about a specific set of nine days, only the exact ones that comprise the act of devotion and not any other.)

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Let's say it debuted on Friday. Saturday and Sunday becomes 'the two days' since it debuted. 'On those days' it got 10 million views.

If you don't use 'the' there, the meaning becomes a little blurry for me. Two days but which days. Anyway during a normal conversation nobody will even realize it.

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using "the" before definite nouns. for eg. "The dog that bit me ran away." Here, we're talking about a specific dog, the dog that bit me. so "two days" is specific so "the two days" is used.

  • I'm letting you off a downvote 'cuz you is a newbie :) However, I don't agree that the original is good English. – Araucaria Oct 28 '15 at 13:58
  • The original was correct English before the first edit. "You is not a newbie" and perhaps should be able to check that before you go through down-voting all the answers to the question. – NadjaCS Oct 28 '15 at 16:47
  • How the original post was not "good English"? – nullPointer Oct 29 '15 at 4:26
  • @nullPointer the original post was fine. someone edited it and introduced some issues into the quote that the OP had asked about, which caused a lot of discussion. – NadjaCS Oct 30 '15 at 20:07

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