Is the phrase "on TV, radio, or in films" a good parallel structure?
Is it ok to say "on radio" without the definite article?

  • 1
    What verb comes before the phrase (or after it)? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 30 '17 at 16:28
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo The tune is often played on TV, radio, or in films. – Apollyon Nov 30 '17 at 22:13
  • Looks good to me. Maybe with and though instead of or. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 30 '17 at 22:28
  • Is it ok to say "...played on TV, film, and (the) radio"? – Apollyon Nov 30 '17 at 23:03
  • "The song is played on film" isn't good (in films is idiomatic there), but in the context of a list, listeners are forgiving of that sort of error. When a different preposition is required of each item in a list, native speakers often get it wrong, and don't "repackage" the list to keep things clean. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 30 '17 at 23:16

1) The phrase "on TV, radio, and in films" sounds like a perfectly fine parallel structure to me.

2) As for the phrase "on radio", it sounds fine. However, there are some contexts where it might sound awkward without the article. For example:

I heard that song on radio yesterday.
I heard that song on the radio yesterday.

That first sentence sounds awkward to me; I feel like the article should be included.


If you are looking to expand your business, you should consider advertising on radio and TV.

I think that sentence sounds just fine with the article omitted.

So, the phrase "on radio" is grammatical, but we would need more context to say whether or not the article should be included in your sentence.

It's hard to come up with a foolproof rule of thumb, but I think when you are talking about radio as a general form of communication, the article may be omitted.

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  • In “I heard that song on the radio yesterday”, 'the radio' is a specific program, while in ...*advertising on radio and TV*, we treat radio as a way of advertising. Could it be the reasoning for this? – dan Dec 1 '17 at 0:58
  • @dan - That's not a bad stab at it, but I don't think it tells the whole story. For example, in the car, I might ask, "Do you want to listen to the radio?" – article included – even before I know what programs are on, what songs are playing, or what radio station I might want to listen to. However, I can also say, "They never listen to radio while they're driving." That would sound fine with the article included, but it's not ungrammatical with the article omitted. – J.R. Dec 1 '17 at 15:09
  • I think if in the car, you ask, "Do you want to listen to the radio?", you are referring to the specific radio(machine) in your car. So, you might have to add 'the' in this case. When you say "They never listen to radio while they're driving.", it means generally they don't listen to radio while driving. In this case, you are not to be specific. My thought is whenever we are trying to be specific we should precede the article, otherwise it's optional. I'm not sure if I get this right. – dan Dec 1 '17 at 15:18
  • Like I said, it's hard to come up with a foolproof rule of thumb. – J.R. Dec 1 '17 at 15:22

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