If you ask someone working at a store 'Where's milk?' would that be right grammatically or does it have to be 'Where's the milk?' I know in the kitchen you would say 'Where's the milk?' or 'Where's the salt?' but i'm not sure if it would be the same case here perhaps because in the store you would be talking about milk in general. Even if 'Where's milk?' is wrong, then why does 'Where's milk in this store' sound right?

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    Neither Where's milk nor Where's milk in this store is natural. Where's milk located in this store or Where's milk to be found in this store might be passable in narrative, but probably not as a direct question, whereas where can I find the milk and where can I find milk would be acceptable all around. – choster Jun 17 '18 at 23:39
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    "Excuse me. If I were a bag of milk, where would I hide?" – Jason Bassford Jun 18 '18 at 2:33
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    +1 Good Q. One who understand the definite article should know that the definite article is needed in the kitchen but not in the store. See also English Language Learners Good Luck. – Kris Jun 18 '18 at 6:00
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    @choster "Where's milk?" works in the store and will be appreciated by the store people than a scholarly "where can I find the milk," which is actually, wrong. See also, my comment above. – Kris Jun 18 '18 at 6:02
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    @Kris What on Earth is wrong with "Where can I find the milk?"? – Azor Ahai -- he him Jun 18 '18 at 16:32

I feel as if both versions of the phrase are perfectly understandable. (Nor would anybody question the dairy industry's own directive of Got milk?—despite the fact that it's syntactically wrong.)

I'm not going to weigh into the debate over the use of the definite pronoun in the context of a store versus a household. (I look forward to reading somebody else's complex answer on that.)

But I will provide a phrase that is grammatical and guaranteed to produce results. One should always free to ask this at any grocery store.

Where's your milk?

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