In Roger Broad's Conscription in Britain, 1939-1964: The Militarisation of a Generation (Taylor & Francis, 2006) is found this sentence:

In 1914–18, 30 per cent of all Britain's soliders were wounded at least once; in 1939–45, 6 per cent. The chances of recovery were much better. … Psychiatric treatments had also advanced. The progress from the dismissive 'cowardice/malingering' to 'shellshock' in the first war, through 'battle fatigue to 'post-traumatic stress disorder' parallels the recognition of the complexity of the condition.

The comparative incidence of psychiatric injury in between the two conflicts cannot be known, for both [the] definition and [the] treatment changed radically over those years."

Even in the Second World War the recognition of battle stress was long resisted by some military authorities: the belief that the problem was 'malingering' rather than combat-induced psychiatric disability had a long life.

Why did the author omit the definite article in this sentence? I added them there myself. To me, it sounds awkward and disjointed without the definite article.

  • What "the two conflicts" refers to is unclear without additional context, not to mention the actual number of definitions or treatments.
    – user3169
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 19:49
  • 1
    I've founded the presumed source and added some context.
    – choster
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 0:15
  • 1
    What kind of research is the OP supposed to do? The usage of articles here is extremely tricky. What else should he or she do but post a question? The lack of content has been amended. It is now a well-worded question, fit for our eternal library of questions. Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 5:11
  • english.stackexchange.com/questions/280998/…
    – user230
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


Definition and treatment are used as categories in a classification of 'psychiatric injury'. In other words, if you were to write an outline, you would write

I. Psychiatric Injury
A. Definition
B. Treatment

The language of the outline is akin to "note-taking", where such unnecessary words as articles are omitted.

This is the concept behind the omission of articles in the text

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