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  1. After investigating the background of the media organization,the reporter, and the subject of the interview, BPA decides whether to accept or reject the invitation.
  2. After investigating the background of media organizations, reporters, and the subjects of interviews, BPA decides whether to accept or reject the invitation.

"media organization" could be any news outlets, and reporter can be Mike, Lucy and any one. Which one is correct, 1) or 2)?

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    This is a matter of context, not grammar. How many media organizations, reporters and interview subjects are there? The first sentence is correct if there is only one of each, and the second is correct if there is more than one of each. (It's likely you'll also want plural backgrounds and invitations in the second sentence.) – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Sep 9 '18 at 7:23
  • We do not know how many, it could be a media organization or many organization coming at a time. In the case where there may be more than one outlet approaching the company, would be the first one correct? Many thinks. – user81157 Sep 9 '18 at 7:42
  • @YongxueLaw Could you tell us the surrounding sentences? Especially a couple before the sentence at issue. – userr2684291 Sep 9 '18 at 13:45
  • @userr2684291 it is in a policy on external communications as a rule. – user81157 Sep 10 '18 at 8:27
  • I figured as much. What you provided isn't enough to answer this question, so suit yourself. – userr2684291 Sep 10 '18 at 10:41
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Context: BPA always does its research prior to accepting media invitations.

Possibility 1): Yesterday, BPA received an invitation from Sky News. After investigating the background of the media organization,the reporter, and the subject of the interview, BPA will decide whether to accept or reject the invitation.

The use of "the" means there is only one of each, and that they are specific to a discussion or context that is already known, earlier in the text or content.

Possibility 2) As a general rule: After investigating the background of a media organization, reporter, and the subject of an interview, BPA decides whether to accept or reject an invitation.

The lack of "the" would only make sense in a general statement.

Possiblity 3) As a general rule, after investigating the background of media organizations, reporters, and subjects of interviews, BPA decides whether to accept or reject invitations.

General statements can also be in the plural.

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    Could "the" be used to make a generation statement. So the outlet could be CNN, WSJ, and reporter could be anyone from CNN? – user81157 Sep 10 '18 at 8:31
  • @Yongxue Law Please write it out. – Lambie Sep 10 '18 at 18:30
  • @Yongxue Law: No, that would be too specific. When the is being used in a generalization the meaning is whatever, here, whatever reporter it happens to be on the given occasion. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 10 '18 at 18:31
  • If you say: Yesterday, the BPA received the invitation from CNN. [that means you already know which invitation is under discussion or that you expected that particular one.] The rest would remain like 1) and will decide. – Lambie Sep 10 '18 at 18:37
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A statement about BPA's standard operating procedure is a form of generalization.

A generalization can be made using the indefinite article, the definite article, or the plural.

A cat has claws.

The cat has claws.

Cats have claws.

Each resolves to a generality:

a: any cat.

the: the prototypical cat.

cats: all cats

P.S. The use of the simple present decides in the original sentences leaves us only one interpretation: they are general statements about standard practice. (In a "narrative" the simple present can be used to tell a story about a particular instance rather than a generality: He takes the teapot from the shelf and sets it on the table. But the original sentences are not from such a story.)

  • Yes, and my possiblity 1) shows how one goes from a to the in the same paragraph. That's what is difficulty for ELLers. The point is showing how one moves from one to the other or not. And how there are differences. – Lambie Sep 10 '18 at 13:23
  • @Lambie: Your #1 is not an option with the original sentences, which use the simple present verb decides, indicating generalization. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 10 '18 at 17:00
  • Context is everything. I adapted the sentences (will decide) to broaden what would be correct. It's seems picky on your part to criticize that rather than work with the OP's actual material. – Lambie Sep 10 '18 at 18:15
  • @Lambie: I was working the OP's actual material. You weren't. You've got it backwards. And I'm not "criticizing" but responding to your comment attached my answer above. You don't need to "school" me on what is difficult for ELLers. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 10 '18 at 18:25
  • I stand by my first comment. – Lambie Sep 10 '18 at 18:28

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