"The statistics on rate of learning English are impressive."

I came across this sentence in a grammar textbook.

I do not understand why there is not a definite article before for "rate of learning English" since one of the rules for using a definite article is that the noun is restricted to a phrase/clause. In this case, I believe the noun "rate" is restricted by the phrase "of learning English" and the word "rate" is a countable noun, so, if I understand the rules correctly, it should be either in its plural form,"rates"; or with an article prior to the word itself, as in:

"The statistics on rates of learning English are impressive"


"The statistics on the rate of learning English are impressive."

Am I understanding the rules correctly? Or all the 3 example s above are correct and carry similar meanings? Can someone elaborate? Thank you so much.

2 Answers 2


Yes, the sentence should use either the definite article or the plural form. The original source appears to simply have an error.


When "rate of learning" is understood as a rubric, a category (e.g. of information), no article is needed.

The investigators sought to quantify rate of learning.

The QA Department keeps statistics on rate of failure.

The ship's doctor will want to know in advance our intended depth of dive.

A choreographer's diagram indicates direction of movement.

A garbled announcement over the PA said something about a delay in time of departure.

You cannot submit the shipping manifest without supplying weight of cargo.

The graphic designer was experimenting with rate of saturation for the background color of the page.

The CDC records rate of mortality for each viral outbreak.

Once patients leave ICU the system then tracks rate of mortality and length of stay.

  • Thank you for your detailed answer. I still have one more question though. Will adding an indefinite article alter the meaning?
    – Tom Lee
    Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 1:52
  • @Tom Lee: The indefinite article would definitely change the meaning.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 11:19
  • Could you please elaborate?
    – Tom Lee
    Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 14:25
  • @Tom Lee Please ask that as a separate question.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 15:52

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