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Good morning.

Please have a look at the sentence below. The intended meaning is just a general statement.

Nowadays major cultural events are barely possible without the sponsorship of big companies.

1) Is this sentence grammatically correct?
2) Especially, what could be a reason to use 'the' before 'sponsorship'? I think that more natural choice is to use the indefinite article.
3) Sometimes I see 'sponsorship' with the zero article - is this possible here?

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The sentence is correct.

It is customary to use 'the' when there is an of-phrase after the noun. This isn't a hard rule, but that pattern probably occurs a lot more than any alternative.

The following examples illustrate the customary patterns; they are not proof that no others are possible.

Those neglected structures were slated for demolition.
Charges exploded to start the demolition of the bridge on Monday.

Your data is sorted by division, but what order is it in within each division?
Talk about practical things like the division of labor or how to share expenses.

The students will learn about measurement, calculators, and the number grid.
A common method in the measurement of attitudes is the use of the Likert scale.

CJ

Comments  
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?

Thank you.

Let me make sure so that I have a full picture:
- So, would the indefinite article be a mistake here or is also correct? In other words, is it optional or only the definite article is correct in this sentence (with the explanation you provided)?
- Is the zero article correct here? If yes, does it change the meaning?

I added examples. Please see my previous post again.

Reegiswould the indefinite article be a mistake here

Either the definite or the indefinite article is possible. My guess is that the definite article is more often seen, but that's a matter of the meaning desired rather than any rule about the articles.

ReegisIs the zero article correct here?

The grammar is acceptable, but in my opinion it definitely sounds like something is not quite right with a zero article. But it sounds fine if 'of big companies' is omitted.

... without sponsorship. - OK
... without the sponsorship of big companies. - OK
... without sponsorship of big companies. - ??? Hmm. Not quite right.
... without the sponsorship. - Oof! Really strange. Wrong.

ReegisIf yes, does it change the meaning?

Not really. It's more like it removes some expected part of the meaning.

CJ

CalifJimI added examples. Please see my previous post again.

Thanks! Now I think I get this idea of an of-phrase after the noun.

CalifJim... without sponsorship. - OK... without the sponsorship of big companies. - OK... without sponsorship of big companies. - ??? Hmm. Not quite right.... without the sponsorship. - Oof! Really strange. Wrong.

Really good examples Emotion: smile The last one I guess would be correct only as second mention, but of course this is not the case here.

CalifJimThe grammar is acceptable, but in my opinion it definitely sounds like something is not quite right with a zero article. But it sounds fine if 'of big companies' is omitted.

It is a pity I am not able to intuitively see it doesn't sound right Emotion: sad So maybe it can be explained that an of-phrase makes it too specific to use the zero article?

CalifJimEither the definite or the indefinite article is possible. My guess is that the definite article is more often seen, but that's a matter of the meaning desired rather than any rule about the articles.

Now you made me intrigued! So both are correct, the meaning of the sentence with 'the' is clear, I think. So what could we be trying to express when saying "without a sponsorship of big companies"?

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Reegismaybe it can be explained that an of-phrase makes it too specific to use the zero article?

Yes.

ReegisNow you made me intrigued! So both are correct

Not in the specific sentence you quoted. My intention was to say that in the general case "a"/"an" before a noun with an of-phrase is not wrong. The indefinite article still has to make sense in specific sentences.

Reegiswhat could we be trying to express when saying "without a sponsorship of big companies"?

No idea. I can't assign a sensible meaning to that combination.

CJ

I see. Thank you for your help.