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There are ten mangoes in the basket. Now which sentence is right:

the big mangoes should be taken

or

big mangoes should be taken

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  • What do you mean by: taken out of the basket? To take something out of something.
    – Lambie
    Jun 4, 2019 at 20:12

2 Answers 2

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The would indicate that the speaker believes there are indeed some big mangoes in the basket.

Big mangoes without the article would imply only that there might well be some big mangoes in the basket. If you find any, take them out of the basket.

The big mangoes should be taken out of this basket.

Big mangoes [if you encounter any] should be taken out of this basket.

Here are some mushrooms.

Put the poisonous ones in this basket.

Put poisonous ones in this basket.

The version with the article ("the poisonous ones") would give the listener reason to believe that there are indeed some poisonous ones among them.

The version without the article ("poisonous ones") would only give the listener reason to believe that there may be some poisonous ones among them.

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  • When I read "the big mangoes should be taken", I think it means "take all the big mangoes", whereas "big mangoes should be taken" just suggests that you take any number of the big mangoes.
    – user3169
    Mar 24, 2018 at 22:00
  • How do you understand the mushroom example? Mar 24, 2018 at 22:29
  • How do I identify the poisonous ones? In the case of the mangoes it was obvious (they were big).
    – user3169
    Mar 24, 2018 at 22:37
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The big mangoes should be taken out of the basket. The little ones can be left in the basket.

There are at least two types of mangoes in the basket. To refer to either type, the must be used in a context like this.

VERSUS

  • Big mangoes are easier to peel, I prefer them. [a generality about big mangoes]
  • Big mangoes are also easier to harvest and crate. [another generality]

Statements in general about things do not take a determiner.

  • Bollywood movies often show fun dancing.

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