Tell me please why the speaker omitted an article before the word region in the following sentence.

Just keep in mind that people use different words to mean the same thing. It depends on (the) region.

It is from this video. It is at 3 minute and 53 second.

I am confused because the word region connotes the region people live in. Or perhaps it is common to drop any article after the phrase depend on. For example, could I leave the article in the following sentence?

Generally politicians are not bad people it depends on (the) person.

2 Answers 2


You are approaching this backwards, working from your sense of what a region is back to whether an article is required or not.

Instead, give the speaker's words primacy, and apply those words to "the facts on the ground".

When the article is omitted there, the speaker is saying that it depends on a factor or condition, namely, region.

The speaker is not referring to an actual specific region but to the general idea that region (whatever region it may be) can be a factor.

Will he make an excellent pro basketball player?
-- Possibly, but ball-handling skills and shooting accuracy alone are not sufficient. Much depends on height.

The speaker is making a general statement that height is an important factor or consideration with regard to pro basketball players. He is not referring to a specific height (the height of this player) but to height in general, to the attribute Height.

  • So given your answer, I can be sure that my sentence about politicians is correct, am I? Dec 5, 2018 at 19:51
  • There is no general "person". Person, by definition, refers to a specific individual. There you would need "the person". Person is not an attribute that can be generalized as height can. There's an argument to be made that region is not generalizable either, but I think that argument is more tenuous, since region can be understood as an attribute of dialect.
    – TimR
    Dec 5, 2018 at 21:03
  • But you could say "It depends on personality" (though perhaps not in your specific example with politicians) since personality is an attribute. Some people do well in remote outposts like the Antarctic and others do not; it depends on personality.
    – TimR
    Dec 5, 2018 at 21:21

The second statement needs the word the because the word person is always specific.

The first statement could be stated with or without the word the because the word region can be either specific or general. A region can be a location (specific), but region is also a quality describing location (general).

If the word the is used in the first statement, what the person is implying is:

Just keep in mind that people use different words to mean the same thing. It depends on the region (that the speaker is in).

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