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Regarding quantity, how many are we looking to buy?
About the quantity, how many are we looking to buy?

Why does "about" require "the" while "regarding" doesn't?

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    I'm not sure "the" is required in one case and not the other based on grammatical rules. You could include it or exclude it in either case. In common usage, one combination might be more prevalent than the other. – fixer1234 May 21 '17 at 2:30
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the is optionally for either case

regarding quantity
regarding the quantity

about quantity
about the quantity

Although, of the four cases "about the quantity" is probably mostly used.

  • This might be a personal preference/region-specific thing, but using regarding in either form is more natural to me. – Cantalouping May 22 '17 at 6:00
  • It's preference, to me, "regarding the quantity", "with respect to quantity", "in regards to quantity" sounds more management, "about quantity", about the quantity" sounds more shop-floor. – Peter May 22 '17 at 13:43
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"About" doesn't require "the" to mean what it means. That "the" you're using is not chained to "about" but rather "quantity". Those sentences should actually mean different things when used in context.

In the first case:

Regarding quantity, how many are we looking to buy?

This sentence means to me that we're looking to buy something, but it's not just a specific case. We're talking about an amount to buy this time but also for every other time in general. In the following example, we're talking about gold coins in general:

Regarding gold coins, why do you think people felt the need to print their faces on them?

In the second case:

About the quantity, how many are we looking to buy?

This sentence means to me that we're looking to buy something but it's for this specific occasion. In the next example, we're talking about a specific set or maybe a bag of gold coins:

About the gold coins, why are there so few of them?

When you use "the" as a preposition to a word, you're talking about a specific version or instance of the thing you're talking about rather than talking about the thing in general.

From dictionary.com:

definite article

  1. (used, especially before a noun, with a specifying or particularizing effect, as opposed to the indefinite or generalizing force of the indefinite article a or an):

the book you gave me; Come into the house.

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