0

I don't understand why they wrote in the sentence below "swept away repressive dictators" instead of "swept away THE repressive dictators"? Any idea?

"Some local pundits liken the protests with the Soweto uprising of 1976, when children protested against apartheid, or talk of a South African spring, alluding to the protests that swept away repressive dictators in the Middle East in 2011."

8
  • 1
    For the same reason you don’t need to say the children
    – Jim
    Apr 10, 2020 at 15:24
  • I am confused … If I use the same reason for children, they shouldn’t write “the local districts” below but “sent people to local districts”? No? “In the closing weeks of his race and two other campaigns in Virginia that hinged on guns, the NRA and gun control groups all sent people to the local districts to rally voters.”
    – K4l44
    Apr 10, 2020 at 15:36
  • You’re right and you could. These are writing choices not grammatical rules.
    – Jim
    Apr 10, 2020 at 15:39
  • Then is it grammatically correct to say "swept away the repressive dictators?
    – K4l44
    Apr 10, 2020 at 15:41
  • Yes, that is grammatical.
    – Jim
    Apr 10, 2020 at 15:42

1 Answer 1

1

Both are grammatically correct, however there is a small but important difference.

alluding to the protests that swept away repressive dictators in the Middle East in 2011.

implies that that there were multiple repressive dictators and some portion of them were removed from power.

alluding to the protests that swept away the repressive dictators in the Middle East in 2011.

implies that that there were multiple repressive dictators and all of them were removed from power.

4
  • Don't you mean the opposite? "the repressive dictators" is a specific set of all of them and "repressive dictators" is about all of them?
    – K4l44
    Apr 10, 2020 at 16:25
  • 1
    No, I don't mean the opposite. "The repressive dictators" does refer to a specific set, the ones in the middle east.
    – Kevin
    Apr 10, 2020 at 17:11
  • Oh I just get it!!! "the repressive dictators in the Middle East" = 100% of them in the Middle East ; "repressive dictators in the Middle East" = a portion of them in the Middle East.
    – K4l44
    Apr 10, 2020 at 17:25
  • So maybe to help myself, I can apply the following trick : when we use “the”, we can put “all” instead; when we omit “the” we can put “some” instead. “swept away some repressive dictators in the Middle East”. “sent people to all local districts”. referring my previous examples
    – K4l44
    Apr 10, 2020 at 17:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.