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Is it mandatory to use the word the in the following sentence?

Here is the example:

  • Yesterday, my grandfather was admitted to hospital. Doctors are trying their best to save his life. (The) doctors said it will take more than fifteen days to be fully fit.

I know it is more usual to use they instead of (the) doctors in the beginning of the third sentence but I just want to know if it is mandatory to put the word the in similar circumstances. Can anyone please answer this?

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  • If the first group of doctors is the same as the second, you should definitely use the. – Peter Shor Apr 8 '18 at 16:56
  • Thank you, but don't you think that the first sentence should contain the word "the"? I mean shouldn't the first sentence be "The doctors are trying their best to save his life"? Because I think without "the" it could mean doctors in general, not only the doctors of the hospital. So I think I should write in the following way- Yesterday, my grandfather was admitted to hospital. 'The' doctors are trying their best to save his life. 'They' said it will take more than fifteen days to be fully fit. Am I right? – user282192 Apr 8 '18 at 16:58
  • I would use "the doctors" in the first mention, with the explanation for English learners that, though it isn't referring to doctors who have been mentioned previously, in the context of a person in the hospital it's already understood that doctors are involved in the patient's care, and this refers to those doctors. – Green Grasso Holm Apr 8 '18 at 17:47
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The definite article should be used in your sentence because the doctors you are talking about are either on the staff in the hospital, or those that you have talked to (those in the hospital or just the doctors you know):

Yesterday, my grandfather was admitted to hospital. The doctors (of the hospital he is in now) are trying their best to save his life. The doctors (whom we talked to) said it would take more than fifteen days for him (my grandad) to be fully fit.

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As mentioned by @user282192, The second sentence should read "The doctors are trying their best to save his life." That is because you are talking about a specific group of doctors, and they are the subject.

"The doctors" is a noun group. The article "the" is a quantifier and it adds specificity to the noun, "doctors," so it's clear that you are talking about the specific group of doctors trying to save your grandfather's life, and not just doctors in general.

Since I'm assuming that the doctors trying to save your grandfather's life are the same ones advising him/you about his recovery, you don't need to completely re-introduce the subject in the third sentence. Here, it would be perfectly correct to use "They" instead of "The doctors."

Because the 2nd and 3rd sentences are constructed in a similar (parallel) way, it's still clear who the subject is, even if you use a general pronoun. It wouldn't technically be grammatically incorrect to use "The doctors" here again, but it sounds repetitive, and if I were proofreading this passage, I would suggest using "They" over "The doctors" to avoid repetition.

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