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A recent sales study indicates that consumption of seafood dishes in Bay City restaurants has increased by 30 percent during the past five years.

Should there be a definite article between "that" and "consumption"?

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  • The sentence sounds correct to me. Even if you were to add 'The' definite article between that and consumption, it wouldn't change the meaning. Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 13:36

2 Answers 2

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You can judge whether or not you need a definite article by considering whether the clause alone needs an article.

Consumption of seafood dishes in Bay City restaurants has increased by 30 percent.

The consumption of seafood dishes in Bay City restaurants has increased by 30 percent.

Both of those examples are acceptable, because consumption can act as a generic noun or a definite noun. Since both work when the clause is by itself, you can likewise go either way in the example sentence you provided. So the example is fine as it is, but you could choose to add "the," it's up to you and which you believe best conveys the meaning you intend.

To illustrate the point about generic nouns, consider a definite noun in a similar structure:

A recent study indicates that the specimen is turning brown.

Here we use a definite article no matter what, because specimen is a definite noun and would need a definite article if the clause were isolated.

The specimen is turning brown. [Correct]

Specimen is turning brown. [Incorrect]

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I think it should. In this case, it selects restaurants "in Bay City". So it should add a definite article between that and consumption.

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  • ELU likes to provide answers that explain and show sources, and I think you should do so for this answer. As it stands, it's just opinion.
    – Xanne
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 5:31

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