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Hi gals/guys,

I deeply appreciate your help during the past few days, and I seem to have a much better understanding on "the".
However, there is one last case in which I don't know why sometimes "the" is used and sometimes isn't.

Group A's pattern: a plural of something without "the".
"A supercluster is most likely to have formed in (the) regions of space where blahblah"

"What do (the) observations of galaxies tell us about blahblah"

"The first group consists of nouns which refer to (the) shared knowledge of the situation or context."

"Use a noun plus definite article to refer to (the) systems of communication and the mass media."

"We search among (the) ghostly errors of measurement for (the) landmarks that are scarcely more substantial.

In group A, are all the nouns definite? Does "of" make them specific rather than general?

Group B's pattern: a plural of something BUT with "the".

"How do we study the lives of galaxies?"

"Thus the explorations of space end on a note of uncertainty."

"We acquaint ourselves with the different types of galaxies in the universe ".

Please explain why the sentences that follow the same pattern use "the" differently.

Thanks a lot!!!
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Hi!

Perhaps I can help you by one example:

He likes the music of France.

This structure is called "limited generic reference"...

"Music" basically is a non-count abstract noun (you can't count or physically touch music...), which requires the zero article.

If this non-count abstract noun happens to be restricted (it just says he likes the music of France, perhaps he doesn't like the music of Switzerland...), then the definite article is required.

I think it's the same with "the different kinds of galaxies".

Hope I could help you at least a bit! Emotion: hmm
Hi Margie,

Thanks for trying to help me. But I was asking about restricted countable nouns. Why some has "the" and some don't?

ie:
What do (no the) observations of galaxies tell us?
How do we study the lives of galaxies?

One has "the" but the other don't....
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I think now I got it...got me a bit puzzled at first...Emotion: wink

When countable nouns are postmodified - especially by an of-phrase, the definite article normally precedes it...like in "How do we study the lives of galaxies?"

But it is as well possible to omit the except with life which is limited generic use as I wrote before.

But e.g. "What do observations of galaxies tell us?" or "What do the observations of galaxies tell us?" would be exactly the same thing (except perhaps that the definite article is a bit more common and has an even more restricted aspect).

All in all, the partitive effect is the same...
Aha! I was wondering how come writers never seem to omit "the" for generic plurals like "uses", "origins", but sometimes for less generic ones...

Thank you so much Margie and everyone that helped!

stands and bows
Hi,

I believe that the decision of whether to put a determiner in front of such sentences as below is largely depedent upon whether or not the whole context that the phrases in question/dispute is part of are showing the restrictiveness of the phrase or there exist prior precedents of such phrases.

What do observations of galaxies tell us about ...

Thus the explorations of space end on a note of uncertainty.

Having said that, the first sentence probably has no prior precedent and the second sentence is mentioning a specific exploration of space and/or somewhere in the past in the article there was a prior precedent of it.

In corollary, I believe to gain the fluency on such situations, one should be exposed to various sentential structures and right use of the phrases under dispute, and develop an eye to see the whole context.
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BelieverIn corollary, I believe to gain the fluency on such situations, one should be exposed to various sentential structures and (the) right use of the phrases under dispute, and develop an eye to see the whole context.
Thanks for pointing this out, Believer, but how come there's no "the" in your sentence? ...and (the) right use of the phrases...

Also as Margie said, since "life" is generic, "the" is used before "lives of galaxies." Then I'll have to ask, are "system" and "knowledge" also generic?

"Use a noun plus definite article to refer to systems of communication."
"The first group consists of nouns which refer to shared knowledge of the situation or context."

I'm not just asking Believer; anyone can answer, thanks.
I think I should have written like this:

In corollary, I believe to gain the fluency in such situations, one should try to gain familiarity with various sentential structures and right use of phrases like the ones in dispute, and develop an eye to see the whole context, rather than relying on limited linguistic and semantic interpretation (I am not saying you are the one who relied on such a limited interpretation) .

And make sure to proof-read what you wrote.
Thanks Believer, I think I get what you meant.

But still, how come there's no "the" before the generic noun "systems"? Is it just so common that people tend not to use "the" here?

ie: "Use a noun plus definite article to refer to (no the) systems of communication."

Thanks
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