Is it a grammatical rule which means there is a list of "you shouldn't use an article here", or is it just a pattern of "the outbreak of something"?

  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Is there a solid reference/rule on when not to put article after 'of' In particular, "war" is a mass noun here (compare "the outbreak of the war" which refers to a specific war, possibly by contrast with another war, rather than the outbreak of fighting).
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 16:12
  • Yes, it is exactly what I want to ask. And unfortunately, there seems to be no accepted answer in that post.
    – Pop Young
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


"At the outbreak of war..." i think in this context, 'war' is an activity that people may be involved with.
"At the outbreak of the war..." refers to a particular or specific period of conflict.

In a conversation, when using the first phrase, the phrase will probably be being used in a context where it is understood WHICH period of conflict was being referred to.

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