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How would you explain why in the following sentence: "Australians must become aware of their water usage" there is no definite article in "Australians" but in the sentence: "People in the Philippines and the Maldives do not have this problem, but t h e British in particular always like their rose gardens"? definite article is used in "the British"? Also, why " They distributed thousands of questionnaires, to see what people thought about t h e waterproblems." but "This mud is bad for water life and causes difficulties for water dwellers."?
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Australians must become aware of their water usage. - No article is used before Australians because there are millions of them and no specific small group of Australians is referred to. We would also say: Teenagers must become aware of this. (Not: *The teenagers must...) However, some Americans do say the Americans when there really is no need for the article. It's their privilege! 😁

The article is needed if an adjective is used to refer to a nation, or any other group of people: The British like tea. The rich like money, and so do the poor.

The water problems suggests to me that the problems have been mentioned before.

CB

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GrzegorzKHow would you explain why in the following sentence: "Australians must become aware of their water usage" there is no definite article in "Australians" but in the sentence: "People in the Philippines and the Maldives do not have this problem, but t h e British in particular always like their rose gardens"? definite article is used in "the British"?

Nationality words divide into the -ian (or -an) class and the non-ian class, chiefly -ish or -ese. These two classes are treated differently grammatically.

Examples:

1. Canadian, Italian, German, American, Indian, Russian, Mexican, Brazilian, ...
2. British, Irish, English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, ...

The first class has a plural; the second class does not.

To refer to all of the people of a certain nationality, use the --- s or just --- s for the first class, and the --- for the second class.

To refer to just one person of a certain nationality, use a --- for the first class, and a --- [person / man / woman / ...] for the second class.

1. the Italians, Russians, ..., an Australian, a Mexican, ...
2. the British, the Irish, ..., a Chinese soldier, a French boy, ...

CJ

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GrzegorzKThey distributed thousands of questionnaires, to see what people thought about the water problems (which had already been mentioned earlier, so the people who got the questionnaires already knew which water problems were being referred to).
GrzegorzKThis mud is bad for water life and causes difficulties for water dwellers. (water dwellers in general; all of them; not any particular subset of interest)

CJ

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