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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Question When to put "the" or nothing

    Hi,

    I have an issue with when to put "the" or nothing in front of words.

    Sometimes, people put "the", sometimes, they put nothing.
    How do I determine when to put "the" or nothing?

    For example, when I was writing my statement of purpose for my graduate school, there was a sentence; "I want to study formation and transtion of identity".
    Was I supposed to put "the" in front of "formatina and transition"
    And if I mention "formation and transition" later on the paper, do I need to put "the" cuz it is repeated?
    Another sentence. "idea of conflict resolution."
    Do I put "the" in front of "conflict resolution"? If not, why?

    Another relating question is that "a(an)" and "the".
    I know the basic rules of "a" and "the".
    First, in my paper, I said, "a Youth Dialogue Conference that I developed."
    Since I assumed that nobody knows about it.
    But a native English speaker corrected to "the Youth Dialogue Conference"
    Why is that? It was a conference that other people don't know.

    Sorry, it may be a long question.
    But I really want to know the answer.
    Thank you so much in advance.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
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    • Join Date: May 2007
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    #2

    Re: When to put "the" or nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by Hero333 View Post
    Hi,

    I have an issue with when to put "the" or nothing in front of words.

    Sometimes, people put "the", sometimes, they put nothing.
    How do I determine when to put "the" or nothing?
    (In short, put "the" when something is definite and specific, i.e. clear to both the speaker and the hearer(e.g. "Please close the door," the boss said.), or something which is unique in the world(the sun, the universe) or geographical or enviornmental features in a specific location(the wind, the sea, the rain, the street), or something that is qualifed by an of-phrase or a clause so that the hearer knows what the speaker is referring to.) (This is a big topic which cannot be exhausted with one or two sentences here. So, you are advised to consult a good grammar book on "Articles" or the past messages about this posted on Usingenglish.)

    For example, when I was writing my statement of purpose for my graduate school, there was a sentence; "I want to study formation and trans(i)tion of identity".
    Was I supposed to put "the" in front of "formation and transition" ?(Yes)

    And if I mention "formation and transition" later on the paper, do I need to put "the" cuz it is repeated? (Yes, if you refer to the same "formation and transition" of identity as before.)
    Another sentence. "idea of conflict resolution."
    Do I put "the" in front of "conflict resolution"? If not, why?(No) (General in concept)

    Another relating question is that "a(an)" and "the".
    I know the basic rules of "a" and "the".
    First, in my paper, I said, "a Youth Dialogue Conference that I developed."
    Since I assumed that nobody knows about it.
    But a native English speaker corrected to "the Youth Dialogue Conference"
    Why is that? It was a conference that other people don't know. (Yes, the definite article is needed as the YDC is qualified by "that I developed.)

    Sorry, it may be a long question.
    But I really want to know the answer.
    Thank you so much in advance.
    (Not a teacher.)
    Last edited by albertino; 28-Oct-2010 at 16:06.

  2. Newbie
    Student or Learner

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 3
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    #3

    Red face Re: When to put "the" or nothing

    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    It was very helpful.

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