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I admit. The articles are the most difficult things I find in this language but I'm learning and I'm better than before! I've been reading about the articles in several authentic books and have a question now.

Does the adjective 'same' ALWAYS have the definite article 'the'?

In fact, looking at complexities of using the articles for zillions of nouns, I feel at least this word -same will make me sure using the article the if this is the case! So, next time on, I'll never make a mistake by not putting the before same.

  • Short answer, not necessary, because you can say "That same X ...", "Those same Xs ...", etc. – Damkerng T. Apr 3 '14 at 7:12
  • @DamkerngT. But then the same X and the same Xs also work! – Maulik V Apr 3 '14 at 7:14
  • I'm not sure if you can always substitute this (or that or these or those) with the. My feeling is you can't always do that. – Damkerng T. Apr 3 '14 at 7:15
  • @DamkerngT. Other way round. Am I always allowed to substitute anything before same with the? It'll still hold the meaning I guess. That same girl I saw in a pub. is equal to The same girl I saw in a pub. – Maulik V Apr 3 '14 at 7:17
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    To answer a slightly different question, *a same is wrong; same is definite. (But you might find that string as part of a larger NP, as in a same-sex marriage, where same has no article and a goes with marriage.) – snailcar Apr 3 '14 at 7:19
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I believe that this can answer your question.

same
adjective, adverb, pronoun
Same can be used in the following ways:
as an adjective (after "the," "this," "that," "these," or "those"): We both went to the same school. ♦ Our new competitors are those same people who once asked us to help them.
as a pronoun (after "the"): I'd do the same if I had the chance.
as an adverb (after "the"): The twins always dress the same.
The same is often followed by "as" or "that": Three-twelfths is the same as a quarter. ♦ I've got the same problem as you. ♦ It's the same film that they showed last year.
In informal spoken English "the" is sometimes left out before same: We'll meet again next week, same time, same place. But in written English same is almost always used with "the," "this," "that," etc.

The part "In informal spoken English "the" is sometimes left out before same: We'll meet again next week, same time, same place. But in written English same is almost always used with "the," "this," "that," etc." confirms my intuition that many people drop the the before same in real speech.

However, in written English, it's clear that we should use the same (or this, that, etc. same).

  • +1 it proves almost what I mean. It does take the and surprisingly, if you replace 'the' with 'those' (as I said earlier), it'll still make sense. – Maulik V Apr 3 '14 at 7:56
  • Of course, in things like same-sex marriage, things change a bit :P – oerkelens Apr 3 '14 at 9:10
  • This answer is incomplete. There are cases where same is used in formal writing without a determiner: macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/of-for-to-same . – Emil Jeřábek Mar 6 at 17:06
  • @EmilJeřábek That example is specific to legal documents, it's not applicable to formal writing in general, and the quoted definition states "almost always" not "always" so the special case is covered. It's not necessary to provide every possible exception to a general rule. – barbecue Mar 6 at 19:20

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