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  1. Member
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    The difference between "freedom of speech" and "the freedom of speech"

    Both of the following sentences are found on the Internet.
    "We must respect freedom of speech."
    "We must respect the freedom of speech."

    What is the difference in nuance between these two sentences?

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: The difference between "freedom of speech" and "the freedom of speech"

    Absent context I cannot be sure what the difference is (if there is any). Nor am I sure what those statements mean (if anything).

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
    English Teacher
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    Re: The difference between "freedom of speech" and "the freedom of speech"

    "Freedom of speech" is such a common collocation (it's a set phrase) that no article is necessary unless the speaker is referring specifically to that of a particular group or country, or to identify it in some way. Even then, it wouldn't be absolutely necessary.

    We must respect freedom of speech.
    We must respect the freedom of speech that those people fought so hard for.
    In some countries, freedom of speech is non-existent.
    At the moment, it's the 'freedom of speech' issue that's debated most often.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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