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Can anyone who knows the language well please tell me if the following sentence is correct with and without the ?

Here is the sentence:

Yesterday I was at john's home. He was telling me about (the) struggles he faced last month.

Can I leave out the word the? I know I can say "Yesterday I was at john's home. He was telling me about a struggle he faced last month." So I think I can use the plural of "a struggle" and leave out the. Am I right?

3 Answers 3

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Because there is a specific time (last night), I would use a definite article. If it were rephrased to, "He was telling me about struggles he has been facing," I may skip using the definite article, 'the'. There is never a time I would omit the indefinite article when 'struggle' is singular.

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Yes, you can leave out the definite article here.

IMO, there's no semantic difference here. Saying the struggles makes them sound slightly more severe (perhaps because implying they are worthy of the definite article also implies they are worthy of being considered more important?).

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Yes, "the" can be omitted.

You could consider it in the following way (there may be other ways to approach it):

He was telling me about the struggle he faced last month.

It is suggested that this is the only [significant] struggle.

He was telling me about the struggles he faced last month.

It is suggested that these were all of the struggles.

He was telling me about a struggle he faced last month.

This refers to a struggle but does not define whether that was the only struggle.

He was telling me about struggles he faced last month.

It is not defined whether these were all of the struggles.

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  • The last sentence seems to give me a different kind of "struggle(s)" he had faced last month. There are many meanings from the word "struggle", but your last sentence, perhaps to me only may be, has a nuance that he had several personal, either economical or human relation struggle etc etc, which had impacts only peculiarly personal to him. Would you be able to elaborate more if you are kind?
    – user17814
    May 30, 2020 at 23:32

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