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Hi,

Why there is no ‘the’ before ‘American history’ in the following sentence?

I do know that ‘history’ alone takes an article, for example, in ‘our history’, ‘its history’, ‘the history of.., etc.

Throughout American history, espionage has played a major role in how this country evolved into the international power it is today.

Thanks,

MG.
Comments  
You need some kind of adjective/pronoun/article in front of "history." "American" serves the purpose. "History is an interesting subject" works, but "History of America is fascinating" does not. (must be "The history of America)

- A.
Avangi,

Thanks.I thought the presence of an adjective before a noun does not decide whether or not to use an article. For example, as in 'the Canadian stock market', 'the US army', and 'the policy level'.
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I should butt out of this because the rules are probably well-organized and others must know them by heart.

I was approaching the noun "history" specifically, and going by ear.

Your examples seem to be specific entities. I notice your rule breaks down when they, in turn, become adjectives: US Army helicopters flew today . . . ; Canadian stock market analysts said today . . . .

I believe the definite article would not be used unless it's a specific entity. The American history we were taught in the North was quite different from the one they were taught in the South. (meaning the "version.")
Musicgold I do know that ‘history’ alone takes an article,
I agree with Avangi's interpretation. Just my two cents. Your above statement is not always correct. History can be an abstract noun for example

This is the first time in history the province is hit by such a strong earthquake. (No article)

In the history of our company, we have never laid off a single employee but today, unfortunately, we have to downsize to get through the recession. (need a definite article)
AvangiYou need some kind of adjective/pronoun/article in front of "history." "American" serves the purpose. "History is an interesting subject" works, but "History of America is fascinating" does not. (must be "The history of America)
I must say in retrospect that this is not a productive way to look at the question of whether "history" requires a definite article. New2's point about "history" as an abstract ("first time in history"; "history repeats itself"; "the study of history"; etc.) is much more useful in explaining why sometimes the definite article is not required.

In my first post I was trying to focus on the difference between "American history" (no article) and "the history of America." I really screwed it up!
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Quote: Avangi:
I notice your rule breaks down when they, in turn, become adjectives: US Army helicopters flew today . . . ; Canadian stock market analysts said today . . . .

I do not think the rule breaks down here. Since helicopters and analysts are plural nouns, they do not need any article.