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Context is the birthday congratulation note and it contains phrase "thanks for funny jokes and interesting lessons".

Should we put "the" before the "jokes"?

Similarly, should we say "thanks for (the) condolences" or other not exactly defined amount of something abstract? E.g. in contrast to "thank for the letter" (which I just received from you).

I'm trying to fathom this with logic - it seems that "thanks for ALL THE jokes" would be suitable because it becomes definite: I do remember them all and believe they all deserve being thanked for. But without "all" it seems "the" is optional?

Thanks for (the) hints and explanations!

P.S. I understand we can put "your" instead of "the" to be sure.

  • +1. I think this is a good post that underlines the complexities of the English article system. Short answer to the main question: No, you don't need the definite article. As to Thanks for (the) hints and explanations!, here the article is not correct because you have not yet received hints or explanations to which you could refer specifically. – Shoe Aug 30 '19 at 7:04
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Short answer, yes you can use the here.

Thanks for jokes

Sounds awkward. Like you're thanking God for creating jokes.

The jokes refers to the specific jokes your friend has shared.

Same with condolences. You don't say thanks for condolences. Thanks for the condolences is preferable.

Despite not being able to grasp them in your hand, they're still definite enough to require the article.

  • Thanks for the answer! I agree that "sounds awkward" especially without adjective. Though in context like "thank you for funny jokes" it seems to be ok? You said "can use" which seems to mean "the" is not mandatory? – Rodion Gorkovenko Aug 29 '19 at 16:50
  • Without the article it all sounds strange. Thank you for funny jokes is odd. – David M Aug 29 '19 at 17:09

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