Questions tagged [definite-articles]

This tag is for questions about the definite article.

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Definite article for general use of "curriculum" required?

We do not use articles before uncountable and abstract nouns used in a general sense. (https://www.englishgrammar.org/omission-articles/) In the following sentence, our copy editor added the the, but ...
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Using the definite article before adjectives [closed]

It is usual to use the definite article "the" before an adjective referring to a certain group of people. My question is: can we rewrite the following sentence without "the"? The ...
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Why has it become preferable to put the definite article in 'Here are the details about…'

Consider the phrases Here are details about… Here are the details about… If you look at google books, both versions exist in edited books written by native speakers. But google NGrams shows that ...
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Question on the use of the definite article

In articles and textbooks about computer science, I often see the definite article used in the following ways. In final testing, the program is tested at the end of its development process. One ...
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When do companies named "(The) X Company" take the definite article?

I work for a company called "x company" where x is a noun that represents our key product- something like book, computer or hamburger. I've been advised to refer to it as the "x company&...
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lacquer finish/a lacquer finish/the lacquer finish [article usage]

I've just read an article about lacquer finish (or should I say a lacquer finish here?), and the use of articles is a bit confusing. The headline uses the indefinite one, which is kind of clear ...
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the semi-final (singular) meaning the team's advancement level in the tournament [closed]

If you meant to convey that they won their quarter-final game and are now going to play at the semi-final level (in a single-elimination tournament), you would often say 'The team advanced to the semi-...
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Why is it "the pretty nurse", not "a pretty nurse" in the song "Penny lane" by the Beatles?

In the Beatles song "Penny lane" there is such a verse: Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray And though she feels as if she's in ...
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"Seconds to wait" vs "The seconds to wait" in a source code comment

I comment my source code. There is a variable that is assigned a constant value that isn't supposed to change over time. Which of the following is the correct candidate for the variable comment: ...
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Why use the definite article before the nouns that are mentioned for the first time?

In the Wikipedia article on Cloakroom there is the following paragraph: Attended cloakrooms, or coat checks, are staffed rooms where coats and bags can be stored securely. Typically, a ticket or ...
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"Last but not Least" or "The last but not the least"?

Is it because, in most cases, we use "last but not least" after mentioning some items that don't add "The" to the phrase? or is it just an accepted exception? Shouldn't the correct ...
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Shouldn't there be the definite article at the beginning of the First Amendment to the US Constitution? [duplicate]

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the ...
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The purpose of definite articles in the extract [closed]

Can anyone explain me the usage of articles in this extract? When students in the UK were asked by a national newspaper what kind of college they would like to go to, they agreed that one of the most ...
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Why do we put the in this example?

Nearly $300 billion in foreign aid was spent by the U.S. Government between the years 2013 and 2018 (source: Forbes) I seriously don't know why we put "the years" in the sentence. More ...
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"under the ten minutes" vs "under ten minutes"

By the end of Chapter 5 of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, there is a usage that I have never seen before: "under the ten minutes". The context: Until we got three-...
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Capitalize "the" when referring to publications as physical objects? [duplicate]

There are plenty of questions on Stackexchange and the web about when to capitalize "the" in titles like "The New York Times." But most of those questions have to do with referring ...
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Whether to use "the" before abbreviations such as HTTP

... This setting determines whether HTTP and FTP URIs should be turned into relative ones if a file is stored using the HTTP or the FTP. HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol, and FTP stands ...
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Use of article: "by the air" or "by air"? [closed]

I like to travel by the air. I like to travel by air. I think the first one is correct because no human can travel in air (general meaning of 2nd one). When "the" is used with air it means ...
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Definite and indefinite articles with uncountable and countable nouns

I have a question that has been puzzling me for a while now. I tried really hard to find an answer but never found the one, which would be satisfying enough. I am talking about using definite and ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Can I not use the article 'the' before the word 'selective note-taking'? [closed]

I used the grammar check website, and I got this result. Selective note-taking is more efficient. *Selective note-taking technique is more efficient. (error) The selective note-taking is more ...
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Difference between make 'an' effort and make 'the' effort [closed]

Consider the following sentence. Yet I still enjoy making ____ (an/the) effort to bake at home from time to time. Here, what is the difference between an and the? Is effort here a specific or common ...
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the phrase 'the Americans' - subtleties [closed]

'Americans,' when you refer to them generically, lots of times go without 'the.' In-depth research finds that 'Americans' without 'the' is perceived more as a nation that is driven by individuals; ...
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Will "a" or "the" be presumed in this scenario? [closed]

Suppose a native English-speaking witness in court is testifying about what she saw. The story, as previously narrated by the witness in her written statement, starts with a certain identified/named ...
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"An X of an Y" or "The X of an Y"?

Important: All of the examples below are assumed to be used when we say something like "a cat" and not "the cat". That is, for example, when we are introducing something for the ...
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an atom vs the atom [duplicate]

In Britannica's Atom term, some general sentences about an atom use "an atom", and others "the atom", why? Sentences with "an atom": The behaviour of an atom is strongly ...
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The definite article before dark, darkness, light

Why is there a definite article before the words darkness and light in the sentence below: But as is so often true, the darkness lingers longer than the light. And why is the expression in the dark/...
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1 answer
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Is it grammatically correct to say that someone is "the son of Satan"?

I read a news report today which is titled "Chinese State Media Slams Soros As 'The Most Evil Person In The World' And 'The Son Of Satan'". My question is not about politics but English ...
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Name for the previous definition to which a definite article refers

Pronouns refer to antecedents. What do definite articles refer to? Are these also antecedents? For example: Mary owned a fennec fox named Archibald, who was a gift from Mary's father. The fox was ...
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Why is definite article (the) used in this sentence?

"Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the near-surface air and the oceans." I understand that the above sentence is the definition of global warming, so the nouns in ...
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Complete the article. Use a, the or no article (-) [duplicate]

Would you like to explain the answer no.11? I think No.11 need filling with "the" article, because it is the typical music. But the key is no article. I am confused (s)............ name of ...
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2 votes
2 answers
553 views

"In a first step" versus "In the first step"

In German we would often use the phrase "In einem ersten Schritt" which literally translates to "In a first step[, we did this or that..]". It is often used when the order of steps ...
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"The" inside or outside quotation marks when naming a thesis

When stating the name of a scientific thesis or principle, for example, "the theory of evolution," should "the" be inside or outside the quotation marks? Put simply, which option ...
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Can you use "the" with proper names in the posessive case?

For example: can I say this is the Lady Mary's car or this is ___ Lady Mary's car?
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1 answer
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Definite article use when writing about global population? [closed]

This is the first sentence in my work. Steadily ageing global population is leading to a crisis of noncommunicable diseases. In most cases, the first mentioning is not preceded by a definite article....
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both (the) X and (the) Y

Which of the three alternatives is correct (or recommended)? "in both the military and civil fields"; "in both military and civil fields"; "in both the military and the civil ...
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Is it grammatically correct to use the definite article before "grana" in this case?

Stroma: the fluid surrounding grana, where the light-independent reactions occur. In this vocabulary list entry—"Stroma: the fluid in the chloroplast surrounding the grana, where the light-...
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1 vote
1 answer
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"A" or "the" merger of two companies

In January, he was convicted of bribing South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye to obtain government support for a merger of two Samsung subsidiaries in 2015. The merger was meant to tighten his ...
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Why is using the definite article “the” before a plural countable noun correct in this case when I have not mentioned the plural noun before?

Nuclear membrane/nuclear envelope: the double membrane of the nucleus, encasing the chromosomes and nucleolus. I know you can put the article "the" before a singular countable noun to create ...
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Using definite article with "total"

Should I use definite article before "total"? Prior context: rehabilitation, describing patients' used physical therapy hours Sentence in the middle of this work: In contrast, total ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Can we use the definite article (the) with the word "reception" when it means an office or a desk?

Suppose in all the sentences below, by reception I mean the place or the office that visitors go to. Take, for example, these sentences: Please get your keys from the reception. Please get your keys ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Can I use zero article before an acronym term?

I am writing a technical report describing how a machine system works. We call the system BLK-Engine, where BLK is the acronym of a long term. When we describe how it works, should I say: "BLK-...
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Under what circumstances may the noun 'ambush' not be preceded by any article?

In particular, I wish to know if they were attacked from ambush and they were attacked from an ambush are equally in fashion. The articled form is is definitely more familiar, but look at the first ...
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9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why was "a world" used in this sentence of Melville?

I cannot make much sense of a world in the following passage from Moby-Dick: There’s your law of precedents; there’s your utility of traditions; there’s the story of your obstinate survival of old ...
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Is this correct? Canada, Spain, and USA

Substitute USA with UK, UAE, and the equivalent, is it correct? Or do I have to add the definite article prior to USA?
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Definite article when referring to named works [duplicate]

If I've watched a named film, let's say "Ice Age". Is it incorrect to say: "I was watching Ice Age film" Without a definite article? As opposed to: "I was watching the Ice ...
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2 votes
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"The number of Xs" - why no article?

Looking at Why not add ‘the’ before the last ‘steps’ word? as recently asked on ELL, I was struck by the realisation that it's very difficult to find contexts where we would include both articles in ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Using the definite article for generalizations

I'm wondering about the usage of the definite article in cases where the thing being referred to is an abstraction or generalization of some kind. I'm aware of the most important rules for using the ...
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1 answer
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What is grammatically correct and why

While complimenting someone, what is correct to say - You have an amazing taste, or You have amazing taste. I checked on online grammar checking websites, they consider both sentences as correct. I ...
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5 votes
8 answers
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Why is the definite article used in: ”What happened to the rest of "the" soup”?

I have been bewildered semantically by the use of the in front of soup in the following sentence. What happened to the rest of the soup that we ate yesterday? I have come across this sentence while ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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Why is the definite article used in "the peace"?

I have difficulty wrapping my head around the use of the definite article the just before peace, in its first appearance, in the last in the following sentences. Noisy children skateboarding on the ...
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