+0
Hello everyone,

This might seem like a silly question, but now that I've had to read hundreds of lines of English texts written by non-native speakers, nothing seems to be as clear as it used to be, because most of the correct patterns previously stored in my memory have been sneakily undermined by the many foreignisms I've been encountering:

Can the adjective main (in the sense of most important, largest, or most frequently used) ever be preceded by the zero article when a plural noun follows?

I've always perceived 'main' as some sort of semantic superlative, requiring the presence of 'the'. However, in a text I'm currently going through, I've come across a few instances with the zero article:

(1)
The aim of our study is to analyse the main [...] differences exhibited by [...], paying close attention to the distinctions in [...] among main Northern Hemisphere (Holarctic) taxa.

(2)
The present [...] construction based on a [...] analysis of selected representatives of main [...] taxa [...] also reveals [...] as the most basal Holarctic taxon [...].

(3)
Together with distinctions related to [...] and based thus on phylogenetic relations and separation to main evolutionary clades, a remarkable dissimilarities might be found in relation to [...].

Of course, the zero article can be used if 'main + [plural noun]' is a fixed noun phrase / compound noun and 'main' has weakened or lost its original meaning, but I don't think we can leave out 'the' in the three examples quoted above, can we?

Thanks a lot for any comments!

P.
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The omission of "the" (or other determiner) doesn't seem quite right to me.

In the last sentence, "separation to" does not seem right either. Possibly "separation from" is meant, though I am not certain.
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Thank you, GPY! Yes, I would think so too.

As far as "separation to" is concerned, I should have included a bit more of the preceding part, because it mentions "diversification into [...] taxa". So, I guess something like "diversification into" could be meant here too; moreover, in the author's native language, "separation" and "diversification" can be both translated using the same word and followed by the same preposition, equivalent to English "to". Perhaps, I could recommend replacing it with "division" or "split" to avoid repetition.

Thanks a lot again!
petusekAs far as "separation to" is concerned, I should have included a bit more of the preceding part, because it mentions "diversification into [...] taxa". So, I guess something like "diversification into" could be meant here too; moreover, in the author's native language, "separation" and "diversification" can be both translated using the same word and followed by the same preposition, equivalent to English "to". Perhaps, I could recommend replacing it with "division" or "split" to avoid repetition.
Oh, OK, I see. If I understand the intended meaning correctly, I think "separation into" would be better.
Thanks a lot! :-)
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