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How come in English, we have this structure that omits "the".

The school is in need of funding.

He is in search of adventure.

Subject + is in + X + of + Y

But then, also have "the"

We are in need of a guitarist.

They are in search of the truth.

If we need to be specific and had to use "the" only in specific cases, that would be okay. But "a guitarist" is a general term, why not "a funding", for example? Is this a special case? Are there any specific words that don't require "the"/"a"?

  • "Count" vs "non-count" nouns. – Hot Licks Sep 22 '19 at 22:43
  • In point of fact, in the right contexts, both the definite and indefinite article could be used in each of your initial sentences. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Sep 22 '19 at 23:52
  • In English, singular count nouns always need an article – either the definite or the indefinite one. Uncountable nouns and plural nouns, on the other hand, only take an article when the NP is used in a specific, definite sense – and then it's always the definite article that's used. I may develop this into a proper answer if I can find the time, but this'll have to do for now; it's an interesting question anyway :) – Hannah Sep 23 '19 at 20:11
  • Thank you for your answer @Hannah! If you do decide to develop it into an answer, I'd happily mark it as correct. – Alex Osheter Sep 23 '19 at 20:57

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