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    #1

    "the" or zero article?

    Dear teachers,

    I am a teacher myself, but I am still learning. The more I think about articles, the more confused I get.

    Let's say I teach for a company and have bad experience with a lot of the people there, shall I say?

    People in xxx (the name of the company) seem to be quite two-faced. OR
    The people in xxx (the name of the company) seem to be quite two-faced. ?

    (Does it matter if there are a lot of people or if it is a small company)

    What about this?

    I used to write a diary and every day I wrote about things that happened to me that day. OR ... the things that happened to me that day?

    OR I am surprised about the omission of "the" in this sentence from an article on Breaking News English

    "Shareholders from the British fashion house Burberry are up in arms about a proposed pay package for its CEO." - Why don't we put there "the" when we mean kind of specific shareholders, shareholders of the British fashion Burberry.

    Thank you in advance for your explanation.





  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "the" or zero article?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katka28 View Post
    Dear teachers,

    I am a teacher myself, but I am still learning. The more I think about articles, the more confused I get.

    Let's say I teach for a company and have bad experiences with a lot of the people there, shall I say?
    Some people in xxx (the name of the company) seem to be quite two-faced. OR
    The people in xxx (the name of the company) seem to be quite two-faced. ?

    (Does it matter if there are a lot of people or if it is a small company)

    What about this?

    I used to write a diary, and every day I wrote about things that happened to me that day. OR ... the things that happened to me that day?

    OR I am surprised about the omission of "the" in this sentence from an article on Breaking News English

    "Shareholders from the British fashion house Burberry are up in arms about a proposed pay package for its CEO." - Why don't we put there "the" when we mean kind of specific shareholders, shareholders of the British fashion Burberry?

    Thank you in advance for your explanation.




    Sometimes the use of the article "the" is optional. When we say "the shareholders" of a company we are referring to all of the shareholders.

    Did I miss anything?


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    #3

    Re: "the" or zero article?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post

    Sometimes the use of the article "the" is optional. When we say "the shareholders" of a company we are referring to all of the shareholders.

    Did I miss anything?

    Thank you

    Aha, so when I speak about a bigger group of people and mean absolutely all members of the group without exception, then I should use THE? And when I mean most of the people from a particular group, but am aware there might be exceptions, I can omit the article? E.g. "shareholders" in the example above means "some of them, but probably not all, I don't mean particular people", but when I say "the shareholders", I mean all of them?

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "the" or zero article?

    1. Yes.
    2. That last sentence was too long.


  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "the" or zero article?

    Article use is tricky and somewhat subjective. The number of people or the size of the company doesn't matter. In your first sentence, without an article it means "some unspecified" people; with article it refers to "all the people". In your second sentence, the difference is not very clear. In your third sentence, "shareholders" without the article means "some shareholders"; with the article it leans towards "all the shareholders".

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    #6

    Re: "the" or zero article?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    In your first sentence, without an article it means "some unspecified" people; with article it refers to "all the people". ".
    To avoid ambiguity, is it better for us to use "Some people in xxx(the name of the company) seem to be quite two-faced" instead of "People in xxx (the name of the company) seem to be quite two-faced."

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    #7

    Re: "the" or zero article?

    I don't consider "people" ambiguous, but "some people" is OK.

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