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    #1

    with or without "the"

    For below two sentences:
    - Therefore, this cannot be the responsibility of the parents alone.
    - Educating children to understand the need to obey rules and respect others always begins in the home and is widely thought to be the responsibility of parents.

    Why sometimes there is a "the" used before "parents", but sometimes not? Could any one tell the difference? Thanks a lot.

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    #2

    Re: with or without "the"

    Quote Originally Posted by savemyenglish View Post
    For below two sentences:
    - Therefore, this cannot be the responsibility of the parents alone.
    - Educating children to understand the need to obey rules and respect others always begins in the home and is widely thought to be the responsibility of parents.

    Why sometimes there is a "the" used before "parents", but sometimes not? Could any one tell the difference? Thanks a lot.
    In the first sentence the parents have already been identified. It is already known which parents are being referred to.
    The second sentence refers to parents in general, not any specific parents.

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    #3

    Re: with or without "the"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    In the first sentence the parents have already been identified. It is already known which parents are being referred to.
    The second sentence refers to parents in general, not any specific parents.
    Sorry, this seems not clarified to me. The complete paragraph including the first sentence is as below:

    A child’s education has never been about learning information and basic skills only. It has always included teaching the next generation how to be good members of society. Therefore, this cannot be the responsibility of the parents alone.

    And this is the first paragraph of the whole essay, so "parents" was not mentioned anywhere prior to this. Therefore, it seems to me this first sentence is also referring to parents in general. Could you help answer more? Thanks!

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    #4

    Re: with or without "the"

    Quote Originally Posted by savemyenglish View Post
    Sorry, this seems not clarified to me. The complete paragraph including the first sentence is as below:

    A child’s education has never been about learning information and basic skills only. It has always included teaching the next generation how to be good members of society. Therefore, this cannot be the responsibility of the parents alone.

    And this is the first paragraph of the whole essay, so "parents" was not mentioned anywhere prior to this. Therefore, it seems to me this first sentence is also referring to parents in general. Could you help answer more? Thanks!
    Yes, what I've given you is a general rule. It's a guideline - it doesn't always work that way.

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    #5

    Re: with or without "the"

    If I saw some children loitering at the mall, I might say, "Someone should really talk with the parents about these truant kids!" I wouldn't say, "Someone should really talk with parents about these truant kids!" because we know which parents we are referring too, even if it hasn't come up before.

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    #6

    Re: with or without "the"

    Thank you both! Does it mean "the parents" can be used either for general or for specific parents? So can I say using "the" would always be correct, although without "the" would be more precise when referring to parents in general?

    Or do you mean the first sentence is actually not so good in this context?

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    #7

    Re: with or without "the"

    Quote Originally Posted by savemyenglish View Post
    Thank you both! Does it mean "the parents" can be used either for general or for specific parents? So can I say using "the" would always be correct, although without "the" would be more precise when referring to parents in general?

    Or do you mean the first sentence is actually not so good in this context?
    No, what I would say is that this thread demonstrates precisely that you can't make dogmatic statements like that. You can take my post as a guideline. Beyond that, you'll learn from experience when you have to use 'the', when you shouldn't, when you have a choice, etc.

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    #8

    Re: with or without "the"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    No, what I would say is that this thread demonstrates precisely that you can't make dogmatic statements like that. You can take my post as a guideline. Beyond that, you'll learn from experience when you have to use 'the', when you shouldn't, when you have a choice, etc.
    This sounds plausible to me. Can I say the case of the first sentence is one of the circumstances under which I can have a choice? And is it better to remove 'the' if I write:
    Therefore, this cannot simply be entirely the responsibility of parents.

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    #9

    Re: with or without "the"

    Quote Originally Posted by savemyenglish View Post
    This sounds plausible to me. Can I say the case of the first sentence is one of the circumstances under which I can have a choice? And is it better to remove 'the' if I write:
    Therefore, this cannot simply be entirely the responsibility of parents.
    Have the parents been identified? What's the context?

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    #10

    Re: with or without "the"

    Quote Originally Posted by savemyenglish View Post
    Sorry, this seems not clarified to me. The complete paragraph including the first sentence is as below:

    A child’s education has never been about learning information and basic skills only. It has always included teaching the next generation how to be good members of society. Therefore, this cannot be the responsibility of the parents alone.

    And this is the first paragraph of the whole essay, so "parents" was not mentioned anywhere prior to this. Therefore, it seems to me this first sentence is also referring to parents in general. Could you help answer more? Thanks!
    Even though the statement is not referring to a specific mother and father (parents), in your example it is referring to a specific group (parents) that is responsible as distinct from other groups, for example educators, coaches, religious etc.

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