Tell me please if I need to use the in the following sentence.

I don't speak English fluently, but I know (the) basic grammar pretty well.

I am in doubt whether to use the or not, because, for one thing, there are a lot of points in English grammar, and I didn't specify which ones. And for the other, It is connoted that I was talking about the basic grammar of English.

Beaing a non-native English speaker it is really hard to tell whether the article is needed or not, but I would use it there. Tell me please if my choice is right. And no matter if it is right or not, tell me the reasons of using, or not using it there please.

1 Answer 1


It is not affected by basic.

Grammar is an abstract noun, and most abstract nouns do not take the unless they are qualified to separate some particular instance or collection of instances.

So the grammar of English and the basic grammar of English are fine: "of English" requires the.

Your case is a little more complicated, because "of English" is only implied; but it is implied, and so permits "the".

Without the your sentence would be grammatical, but strange, because it would suggest that what you know is "basic grammar" in general, not basic English grammar.

So to get the meaning you want, you require "the".

  • I am sorry, but I am confused. Do I need to use "the" in my sentence or not? Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 12:04
  • @DmytroO'Hope: I've edited my reply to make that clearer.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 12:06

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