Doctors express concern yesterday that people are ignorant of the risks during the current heatwave, with scores of holiday makers being treated for burns and blisters in hospital casualty units round the country.

Why the in front of current heatwave? For me it is a globalisation: all current heatwave can lead to skin cancer

  • All current heatwaves? You can just have a (one) current heatwave. You can remove "the current" and use plural to establish a generalization: Heatwaves can lead to skin cancer.
    – RubioRic
    Aug 1 '18 at 10:58
  • 'Doctor express' also needs numeric agreement, even in headline-ese. Aug 1 '18 at 11:12

The concern is about one heatwave in particular, the current one we are experiencing, which is causing scores of people to show up in emergency rooms needing treatment throughout the country.

It is not clear whether you mean to say Doctors (i.e. multiple doctors have expressed this concern) or The doctor (.i.e. a particular doctor who was consulted and who has already been mentioned) or A doctor (i.e. a doctor who will remain anonymous as an unnamed source of information).


Simple answer: because English requires the definite article. It's not optional, as it is in some languages. Thus, if you want to talk about the current heatwave, you simply cannot drop the article.

You could modify it a bit and say "this current heatwave": that could emphasize that you are talking about the current heatwave only, and not other heatwaves. The use of "the" doesn't really emphasize that the current heatwave is different from any other: in that sense, it's more generic, required by English grammar but not really making any particular emphasis. What one of the comments on the original question said is correct: you could change this to simply "during heatwaves", and you'd be saying basically the same thing. All "the current heatwave" implies is that (1) there's a heatwave going on right now and (2) people are ignorant of risks during heatwaves in general, the current one included.

However, don't expect perfect consistency by people. I could easily see a TV reporter, for example, saying "this current heatwave" and meaning nothing more than if they just said "the current heatwave" or even simply "heatwaves." They may be just emphasizing, yes there is really a heatwave going on right now, and by golly we're bringing you the most news of any news outlet about it. In other words, using the emphatic "this" to be more about their own great reporting work than about the heatwave itself.

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