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Should there be "the" in the blank space below or not? And why?

Not having a car in LA is not really an option since there is no public transportation system to speak of. As a result, _____ traffic is just awful.

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Yes, I would use a "the". Although the referent of the traffic isn't mentioned, it's still identifiable in the context (because it refers to the traffic in LA) . Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English calls this an indirect anaphoric use of "the" because the referent isn't overt, but it's indirectly associated with the main topic in the discourse.

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