The trials that followed the murders of Falcone and Borsellino convicted the people who planted the bombs and planned the assassinations, but a wider investigation into powers behind the attacks had to be closed for lack of evidence.

Source: Newsweek

Should there be the definite article before the word "lack"?

  • My personal choice would be to replace for and use an indefinite article in that specific sentence: had to be closed due to a lack of evidence. – Jason Bassford Oct 12 '18 at 19:55
  • Newsweek articles are in general trustworthy with regard to the use of language. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 12 '18 at 19:59
  • This is the kind of question that Google Books is very good for. google.com/… – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 12 '18 at 20:07

for lack of is an idiomatic expression and there is no article:

not having (the thing specified)

  • They called it a comet, for lack of a better term/word.
  • For lack of anything better to do, we went to the park.


But a check with Google Books shows that both versions are used “for the lack of” and “for lack of”.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    The similar expression is "for want of", which too, is sometimes used with THE article. – Victor B. Oct 12 '18 at 19:54
  • And absence of as in absence of malice. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 12 '18 at 19:58
  • @Rompey: the absence of malice? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 12 '18 at 22:32

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