Tell me please why the is not used in the first following sentence and is used in the second one.

Ancient egyptian civilization existed for a long time.

The Inca civilization flourished for a long time.

Is the omitted because of the word ancient, or the use of the is optional in both sentences?

  • 3
    The reason seems to be that you have written the sentences this way. Are they quoted from somewhere? Can you provide some context? Can you think of a difference between "The Inca civilization" and "Egyptian civilizations" that can explain the choice of articles? Commented May 6, 2018 at 17:43
  • civilization is like wealth, happiness and poverty. No article required. If you write: "The Inca civilization", it can be because you are comparing it to "The Mayan one".
    – Lambie
    Commented May 6, 2018 at 18:04
  • ancient is the specifier there. We also say ancient history is... not The ancient history is...
    – TimR
    Commented May 6, 2018 at 18:59
  • Laugh: The first sentence is from Crash Course World History. The second one is given by the Cambridge Dictionary Commented May 6, 2018 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


When we say

Ancient Egyptian civilization flourished for centuries.

the specifier is "ancient" and "Egyptian" is a modifier. We're not talking about modern Egypt but ancient Egypt and its civilization.

We could do the same with Inca:

Inca civilization flourished for a long time.

Which civilization? Inca civilization.

If we use the definite article:

The Inca civilization flourished ...

we're referring to the aforementioned civilization of the Incas. Most likely the sentence was culled from a paragraph about Inca civilization.

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