In an exercise I came to following sentence for error detection. In the answer it is said to use 'the' before 'sand sculptures'. Isn't it a plural noun and plural nouns don't take "the" before them? Please explain

sentence - We saw sand sculptures in the beach.

Please illustrate if there are any other errors also.

  • 1
    Your statement "plural nouns don't take "the" before them" is simply not true. Far too general. Some do, some don't.
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 19, 2017 at 12:03

2 Answers 2


The plural doesn't require "the" before it, but it can have "the" before it. It changes the meaning a little.

We saw sand sculptures on the beach.

This just means you saw some sand sculptures while you were on the beach.

We saw the sand sculptures on the beach.

This means that you saw the specific sand sculptures that were on the beach. It makes the sand sculptures sound more important—like they are unique sand sculptures that only exist there, on that particular beach. Or it could mean that someone else had been talking about those specific sand sculptures so you are referring to sand sculptures that had already been discussed.

I would not, however, call either one "an error."

  • This was an isolated statement in the exercise. So shouldn't we go ahead with 'no error' option or is it necessary to use 'the'.
    – Sanat
    Dec 19, 2017 at 6:23
  • Well, I'd say that using "in the beach" instead of "on the beach" is definitely not natural. But unless your exercise is trying to make some specific point, it's fine with or without "the." Dec 19, 2017 at 6:24

Definite Article: THE is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular.

For more detail see this

And in your sentence, it means that the "sand sculptures" could have been mentioned before in another sentence of the same paragraph or these sculptures are some specific or particular spot which may be well-known sites.

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