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From a news report:

The group looked at tissue from people who had any of five diagnoses: autism-like conditions, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and alcoholism.

Why isn't there a definite article before "five diagnoses"? They are listed, so it's a definite word. I would have used the:

The group looked at tissue from people who had any of the five diagnoses: autism-like conditions, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and alcoholism.'

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    With "They are listed, so it's a definite word" it is not clear to me what you mean. The word five there specifies only the number of items in the list. You have to go to bed early tonight for three reasons: .... You wouldn't want to say "for the three reasons", right, even if we list the reasons. One could say these five diagnoses upon first mention. the five diagnoses would suggest they are commonly found in that grouping, like "the Seven Deadly Sins" or "The Three Musketeers".
    – TimR
    Feb 13, 2018 at 11:57
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo - thank you, it's clearer to me now. I will never have the natural feeling for articles. (0: Feb 13, 2018 at 12:13
  • Your feeling for them is quite good.
    – TimR
    Feb 13, 2018 at 12:17

1 Answer 1

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The group looked at tissue from people who had

any of these five diagnoses: ...

any of five diagnoses ...

any of the five diagnoses

these five diagnoses = focus your attention, listener, on this list of five diagnoses I am about to enumerate

five diagnoses = five diagnoses were involved...

the five diagnoses = listener, I'm speaking of the five diagnoses with which you are familiar or have already heard about (or which I intend to make my topic)

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