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Why is all students here not all the students?

My logic is like so:

(1) The Principal: a generic noun, with 'Principal' as a prototypical representation of principals in general, with 'the' in front of it to signal he is the principal of a prototypical school.

(2) all the students: students are of the prototypical school; therefore, the students.

I'm very much at a loss. Is this just omission of the article, and on the special side to make it sound more stilted?

The Principal is responsible for the accurate recording and rigorous monitoring of the attendance of all students and for implementing appropriate strategies to restore attendance if there are attendance issues. [excerpted from a manual of attendance policy by Government of Western Australia]


After a while, I am now thinking ....

Would the rationale be anything like this? : all students represents {students of the untold school that represents any school} (in general), and a part that would tell you that the students go to the school is not stated because the readers would naturally understand it without it explicitly written.

The Principal is responsible for the accurate recording and rigorous monitoring of the attendance of all students (that go to his school) (in general) and for implementing appropriate strategies to restore attendance if there are attendance issues. [excerpted from a manual of attendance policy by Government of Western Australia]

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Grammatically both usages are possible.

All is a determiner and predeterminer. (ODO)

all PREDETERMINER, DETERMINATOR & PRONOMEN

Therefore it acts as predeterminer in all the students and as central determiner in all students. The article 'the' is also a determiner.

As this ngram shows the shorter variant is more common.


I guess it's always the context that determines the sum of all students, which is by definition to the whole, nobody would assume that the local principal is responsible for all students worldwide.

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