Did the author make a grammatical error in this sentence?

"While (the) female membership of parliament is the highest in the world (though still far from equal), (the) male control of the corporate world is absolute."

Why is there no article before "female" and "male"? I thought the definite article can be used with uncountable nouns?

  • For the same reason that we don't need an article before "chocolate cookies" or "rye bread" or "steel girders" when identifying a type or class or category. We're not referring to something in that category (specific cookies, a particular loaf, a specific set of girders) but to the category itself. The author might have needed to use an article there, however. Can you include the previous sentence?
    – TimR
    Nov 6, 2016 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


There is nothing wrong with the sentence as it is.

From what we are taught, we might expect

the female membership of (British) parliament

would be appropriate to describe the British situation. However, use of the article "the" also varies between AmE and BrE.

For example, the BBC will report that

someone is in hospital

whereas an AmE speaker will tend to say

someone is in the hospital

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