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Lessons learned from experiences are the most lasting.

Should I put article "the" before lessons and experiences?

THE lessons learned from THE experiences are the most lasting.

or

Lessons learned from experiences are the most lasting.

  • Now add some context. Are you talking about experiences in general? (For children, formal education is emphasized, but [THE?] lessons learned from [THE?] experiences are the most lasting.) Or are you talking about a specific set of experiences you have already described? (E.g. Students will all try out activities outside their comfort zone, including bungee jumping, and eating flies. The classroom work is important, but [THE?] lessons learned from [THE?] experiences are the most lasting.) The answer may be different depending on your context. – Adam Jun 30 '17 at 17:48
  • The example sentence presents no differences from the general use of the definite article. The same rules apply here as in any normal case. – Luke Sawczak Jun 30 '17 at 17:55
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    If specific experiences and lessons have been discussed in a previous sentence, the definite article should precede the nouns. If (as I think is your intention here) the words are used to refer to "lessons in life" and "life experience" in the general sense, then the plural Lessons and the uncountable noun experience are appropriate, without the articles, thus: Lessons learned from experience are the most lasting. (Note how this differs from your last example.) – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jun 30 '17 at 18:29
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Yes and no. This is one of those places in English where you can say the same thing in two different ways, with only small variation in nuance.

If you exclude the definite article "the", you refer to indefinite or conceptual nouns. For example:

Travel abroad creates memories that last a lifetime.

Many families give presents during the Christmas holidays, even if they are not Christian.

In both of these, the plural is used to describe the general concept rather than a specific example. However, in English we use the singular of many nouns to describe the concept:

The deepest and most heartfelt emotions are often best expressed through song.

It isn't a real birthday party without cake.

In your example, you seem to refer to the general, conceptual idea of both "lessons" and "experiences". If this is the case, then you may omit the definite article, but use "experience" (singular) and not "experiences"

Lessons learned from experience are the most lasting.

That being said, you can draw attention to a specific, known subset of the general concept by adding the definite article "the". So this sentence is also fine:

The lessons learned from experience are the most lasting.

This also creates a pleasing "the ... the ..." parallel in the sentence, which can be considered good style.

Other examples:

The memories you get from travel abroad last a lifetime.

The experiences you learn from life's lessons are the longest lasting.

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It works either with or without the first the. That one is entirely optional.

For the second the, as well as the plural experiences, it depends on whether you're making a general statement or referring to multiple specific instances. It's far easier for me to imagine making this general statement: lessons learned from experience are the most lasting. But if you're writing brochure to sell a package of 10 science experiment kits for kids to their parents, it's conceivable that you might say "the experiences". But even in a context in which you could say "the experiences", it usually works just as well to make the general statement.

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