I just came across the following sentence;
Many Americans love to watch reruns of the I Love Lucy show.
and think that the in there is extraneous. What rule applies to it?
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It's definitely not extraneous. In fact, I'd say it was required.
Interestingly enough, if we remove the word show, then we would omit the article, too:
Many Americans love to watch reruns of I Love Lucy.
but we could not say:
Many Americans love to watch reruns of show.
unless the word was pluralized:
Many Americans love to watch reruns of shows.
The EF website lists 15 reasons when we use a definite article, but I'm having trouble figuring out which of those rules applies to this sentence. However, the CUNY School of Law has a webpage about the definite article with a rule that seems to apply:
In general, the article THE is used when a noun has a specific reference to something unique.
In this case, the noun is show, and it's referring to a particular (i.e. a unique) show.
On the EF website, that rule is expressed as:
Use the in sentences or clauses where you define or identify a particular person or object.
I think those are essentially two ways of trying to say the same thing, but the wording of the former maps a little better to the sentence in this question. An example on the law school website is:
which aligns pretty closely with: