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I would like some help with the following expressions, as I see them used in different ways:

Actions to reduce pollution at a/the municipal level play a crucial role.

Actions to reduce pollution at municipal level play a crucial role.


Actions to reduce pollution at a/the international level play a crucial role.

Actions to reduce pollution at international level play a crucial role.


Actions to reduce pollution at a/the local level play a crucial role.

Actions to reduce pollution at local level play a crucial role.


Actions to reduce pollution at a/the sector level play a crucial role.

Actions to reduce pollution at sector level play a crucial role.


My question is about using the article "a/the" or not when it comes to sentences of this kind, is there a rule or it depends on the word preceding "level"?

If yes which one (a or the)?

Thank you

  • I'd usually use 'the'. – Edwin Ashworth May 8 at 13:02
  • Thank you Edwin. Do you think that the other forms are incorrect or it is possible to use both? – Languages May 8 at 14:37
  • I'd stick with 'the', but not be appalled by any examples containing 'a'. Modern usage may be seeing an upsurge in the anarthous versions, but 'at local level' is perhaps a couple of decades away from being favoured. I'm not familiar with any of the 'sector' examples (living in the UK), so 'at sector level' sounds at least as good as the others to me. Like something I'd read in a space opera. – Edwin Ashworth May 8 at 15:03
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In your examples, I would use "the". But in other cases I might use no or the indefinite article, for example,

It was a smoggy day. Pollution made the air at ground level almost unbreathable.

It's an understatement to say that Labron James plays basketball at a high level.

It depends on whether the adjective you're using is chosen from an implied set, in which case you're specifying a particular level from some set of levels the audience knows about, and the definite article is appropriate. Or if the adjective is simply descriptive, in which case no article or the indefinite is appropriate.

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