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Tell me please if need to use the definite article before the word knowledge in the following sentence.

Many scientists say that (the) knowledge of a second language may substantially boost the brain.

Would omitting or leaving the change the meaning of the sentence?

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The sentences are basically the same. But the sentence is better without "the." "The" is generally used to refer to a particular person, place or thing - e.g "the person," "the store," or "the car".

In this case there is no "particular" knowledge of a second language but rather knowledge of the second language in general. In other words two different people who know the second language wouldn't have exactly the same knowledge of the second language.

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