My question is how can I decide wheather a noun is a generic or specific one? I know all the rules but still one thing confuses me. For example:

"According to the linguist (mentioned before) inhabitants of certain communities share common experiences as well as knowledge".

Should I use "the" before "inhabitants" in this sentence? On the one hand, I refer to all inhabitants of these communities, therefore maybe it is generic reference and I should use zero article, on the other, I do not refer to all inhabitants in the world, only those of certain communities, than maybe it is specific reference.

Should I take only a noun or a noun phrase deciding wheater it is generic or specific?

1 Answer 1


I think "the inhabitants of certain communities" is appropriate; "inhabitants of certain communities" seems to put too much focus on the fact that only SOME of the inhabitants share common experiences. Although that's probably true, it's not the focus of the sentence.

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