I'm considering two different forms of a sentence:

In light of these limitations as described…

In the light of these limitations as described…

Which usage is correct?

  • 1
    I noticed some dictionaries list the idiom as in (the) light of, but I can only remember hearing the shorter version (i.e., in light of). Maybe it's a regional thing? – J.R. Oct 23 '13 at 8:42
  • I think in US it is "in light of" – anish Oct 23 '13 at 9:03
  • That means there is no meaning and grammatical difference? – anish Oct 23 '13 at 12:25
  • I think it means "in the light of" would sound oddly wordy in the US, and "in light of" might sound oddly terse in some parts of the UK. – J.R. Oct 23 '13 at 14:46

In the US, “in light of” sounds natural and is well understood, while “in the light of” (if intended to mean “in consideration of” or “taking into account” rather than “illuminated by”) sounds awkward.

Snailboat's comment, that “BNC gives 1798 for in the light of and 125 for in light of. COCA gives 4678 for in light of and 1474 for in the light of”, suggests the opposite is true in the UK.

COCA = Corpus of Contemporary American English and BNC = British National Corpus (1,2).

  • I have a very minor point to make: I used code rather than italics because I consider search terms to be data, distinct in form from mentioned text. This can be seen in examples like everyone 's, where the search term contains a space that the corresponding mentioned text would not, or in un american, which may correspond to mentioned text like un-American with a hyphen and capitalization, or in queries containing operators such as colour / (color + colour), which don't correspond directly to any mentioned text. – snailplane Oct 23 '13 at 16:08
  • (But the italics are okay here, because the queries happen to correspond to mentioned text in this example.) – snailplane Oct 23 '13 at 16:12
  • @snailboat, thanks for pointing out the rationale for code formatting. I noticed it but didn't think of a reason to use it – James Waldby - jwpat7 Oct 23 '13 at 16:18

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