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    #1

    article again; giving up again

    A few days before Chinese New Year, street hawkers will start selling "spring couplets" or other festive merchandise along the streets.

    Is "the streets" an idiom? Therefore, "the" has to be used?

    Thank you so much.

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    #2

    Re: article again; giving up again

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    In the streets is not an idiom, it is a description. The article "the" is used because the selling takes place in a specific location, along the streets.
    Thank you, Gillnetter.
    Is it also OK to omit it?

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    #3

    Re: article again; giving up again

    In the streets is not an idiom, it is a description. The article "the" is used because the selling takes place in a specific location, along the streets.
    Actually, there is not necessarily any idea that the selling is done at a specific location. In the street is used for any of several ideas: in public, in the open air, not indoors, not in a shop. Street is more commonly used in the singular form, but the plural form, as in panicmonger's sentence, is possible. We do not normally omit the.

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    #4

    Re: article again; giving up again

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Actually, there is not necessarily any idea that the selling is done at a specific location. In the street is used for any of several ideas: in public, in the open air, not indoors, not in a shop. Street is more commonly used in the singular form, but the plural form, as in panicmonger's sentence, is possible. We do not normally omit the.
    Thank you, Fivejedjon.

    Sometimes, do you think the article 'the' is a little bit self-contradictory?

    I said that because when I dug into it deeper, I found the use of article 'the' a bit subjective.

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    #5

    Re: article again; giving up again

    Quote Originally Posted by panicmonger View Post
    Sometimes, do you think the article 'the' is a little bit self-contradictory?

    I said that because when I dug into it deeper, I found the use of article 'the' a bit subjective.
    I agree that in some cases the choice of whether or not to use an article, and if so which, can be fairly subjective. The 'rules' given in grammar books are often sound, but there are very often a number of interpretations that can be placed on one utterance. This means that it is possible for different people, and for the same person at different times, to justify a/an, the or no article (or any two, or all three) in one utterance.

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