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Why is there an article in front of one and not in the other?

What is the head of local city government?

What is the head executive of a city government is called?
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Hi,

What (I'd say 'who', or 'what is the name of') is the head of [local] city government? The absence of the article makes this a very general reference.

What is the head executive of a city government [is] called? The article makes this a less general reference.

Best wishes, Clive
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Thank you.

The Collins/Cobuild Advanced Learner's Dictionary gave two definitions on the word "government" and they are like this:

1. A collective noun: The government of a country is the group of people who are responsible for governing it.

2. A uncountable noun: Government consiists of the activities, methods, and principles involved in governing a country or other political unit.

OK, when you were giving answers as one making a very general reference and the other making a less general reference, were you making those comments in relation to the aforementioned "dictionary" definitions or something other?

OR, maybe, could it be that ?

the head of city government (here, of city government is acting as a modifying adjectival phrase of head - acting to describe the type of the noun?) like

a change of plan, a change of domicile, a change of job, the smell of cat

One more thing, if I may,

When you have those modifying adjectival phrases, are the nouns in those phrases, like plan, domicile, job, and cat, not suppose to have any determiners or articles?

Help me to understand s the function and the nature of the modifying adjectival phrases that don't follow the general article rules.
Hi,

1. A collective noun: The government of a country is the group of people who are responsible for governing it.

OK, when you were giving answers as one making a very general reference and the other making a less general reference, were you making those comments in relation to the aforementioned "dictionary" definitions or something other? Yes. #1

OR, maybe, could it be that ?

the head of city government (here, of city government is acting as a modifying adjectival phrase of head - acting to describe the type of the noun?) like Yes, this too, I think

a change of plan, a change of domicile, a change of job, the smell of cat

One more thing, if I may,

When you have those modifying adjectival phrases, are the nouns in those phrases, like plan, domicile, job, and cat, not suppose to have any determiners or articles? They are fine as you have written them

Help me to understand s the function and the nature of the modifying adjectival phrases that don't follow the general article rules.

We've had so many questions about articles that I don't feel I have anything left to say that I haven't said. If you want to write some specific examples of various kinds to practice with articles, I'm happy to check them. I think that would be a good thing for you to try.

Best wishes, Clive