Are North Koreans and South Koreans "same people" or "the same people"? Which is correct: the same or just same, and why?


You would use the definite article there:

North Koreans and South Koreans are the same people.


Same without the article is often used in a telegraphic style (one that omits extra words for the sake of brevity), such as product orders:

"You requested 52 greeting cards: will ship same within 4 days."

In this case it functions as a demonstrative pronoun, whose antecedent is the cards mentioned. Another way to say that is

"You requested 52 greeting cards: we will ship those to you within 4 days."

It fine to use either, but same in that context is a conventional usage.

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  • why? is there any rule or just that you have to use it when talking about people? – Omair Iqbal Dec 19 '12 at 10:09
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    Same is never used without the. Collins. The only exception is where it is jargon/shorthand, and even then it usually has the. – Andrew Leach Dec 19 '12 at 10:10
  • "The only exception is where it is jargon/shorthand" an example would be nice. – Omair Iqbal Dec 19 '12 at 10:14
  • One example is when same is used as part of an adjective phrase, like in "The company offers a same day service." Note that the article in this case refers all the way forward to service, and that some people insist on a hyphen when writing same-day. – Cameron Dec 19 '12 at 10:17
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    In the greeting card case, the technically correct form is still the same, though it will be understood without the article: in the service case, same day is an adjectival phrase, (and IMO you still need an article, a same day service). – Tim Lymington Dec 19 '12 at 11:07

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