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I'm a bit confused about the use of the determinative article before "time". I know the rule is to not use the article when you talk about thinks in general. So if I say:

do you have time to do it?

since this is a specific time, that is the time to do something, it should be more correct to say:

do you have the time do to it?

Yet, the former version is used too. Why? Just an exception to the general rule? And what about:

have you got time to do it? have you got the time to do it?

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This is a case where either way works, and they are both commonly used. In this kind of sentence, "time" can be used in the uncountable sense and you can also add clarification of an amount to the sentence. Or, you can refer directly to the specific time being discussed.

Another example would be, "Do you have water to give me a drink?" vs. "Do you have the water to give me a drink?" The first case refers to water in general and adds clarification of an amount. The second case refers to the specific water being requested. Again, both versions are fine.

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Articles are used before countable nouns. The time means the required duration, which is countable in terms of mins/hours, for a particular activity.

However, time, can also be uncountable based on the context.

English Grammar on time

  • I am not really convinced of this explanation. What would you say about a sentence such as "You should use the beautiful weather and go hiking". – Christian Geiselmann Jun 1 '17 at 16:45
  • @ChristianGeiselmann some nouns can be both countable and uncountable. en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/weather – kasa Jun 1 '17 at 16:48
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    @ChristianGeiselmann, that's another case where either way works but your example isn't quite as generic. Without "the", it's a general statement about any beautiful weather. With "the", it refers to the current weather. The example in the question can be used interchangeably for the same situation. – fixer1234 Jun 1 '17 at 16:51
  • @EdwinAshworth As my answer states, here time implies duration. – kasa Jun 2 '17 at 4:03
  • 'Do you have the time' is certainly not a count-noun usage because of the unavailability of 'I have [the] seven times to do this job.' / 'Do you have three times to help me?' // Saying 'The time means the required duration, which is countable in terms of mins/hours, for a particular activity.' shows a lack of understanding of countness in linguistics. 'The rice is in the bowl' is a non-count use of 'rice', but the number of grains could be counted. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 2 '17 at 4:04

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