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Hi,

I read the following sentence in a report. I am confused with the way in which the author has used 'the' at various places in the sentence. I have numbered the places where I have a question.

'Exhibit 5 shows one view of the changes in investor perceptions of the public equities market. The chart graphs the difference between the trailing 12-month total returns for the Russell 2000 Value and Growth indices. [1] Shaded areas below the x-axis, identified by [2] the odd numbers, indicate [3] periods during which growth stocks outperformed value stocks.'

1. Why did the author not use 'the' at [1] and [3] ? I feel she is talking about the specific areas and periods shown in the exhibit.

2. If the author did not consider those areas and periods suitable for an definite article, why did she use 'the' at [2], given there are many odd numbers in the chart?

Thanks,

MG.
Comments  
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1. Why did the author not use 'the' at [1] and [3] ? I feel she is talking about the specific areas and periods shown in the exhibit.-- Yes, but if that specificity is otherwise obvious, 'the' is often not needed with plural nouns (areas, periods)

2. If the author did not consider those areas and periods suitable for an definite article, why did she use 'the' at [2], given there are many odd numbers in the chart? -- The same rule applies re plural nouns, so the answer to your question is 'no particular reason'-- she had the option, and exercised it. I would not have.
I think I would have used
The shaded areas below the x-axis, identified by odd numbers, indicate periods during which growth stocks outperformed value stocks.
But I would say that the is optional in all three cases you have marked.
Omitting the first the can be understood as telegraphic style, which is not out of place in a caption.
CJ
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Thanks a lot folks.
Mister Micawber and CJ,

A related question.
I found the following para in a report. Note that the author does not use 'the' before 'tenant demand' and 'new construction', though it is assumed that the reader knows what the author is talking about. Being a non-native English writer, I would rather not omit any article, to avoid any serious mistakes.Would the sentence sound awkward if I put 'the' before the highlighted words?

Even as the economy experiences a slowdown, the good news is that commercial real estate
fundamentals are remarkably healthy. While tenant demand is likely to soften as a result of
slower economic growth, new construction is generally modest with only a handful of
exceptions.


Thanks.
I wouldn't use "the" in the above, we're talking about generic things.
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There are times when you have to omit an article.
The two you marked are cases where the article should not be used. Both are used as non-count singular nouns.
CJ