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In our daily unexamined routines of language, we easily overlook linguistic gaps.

In our daily unexamined routines of language, we easily overlook the linguistic gaps.

  • As a native speaker, I must point out that I don't understand the cited text, so it's not easy to say whether the article would affect the "meaning" (whatever it is). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 7 at 13:27
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    The article is not required. Think of "linguistic gaps" as having a kind of generic meaning. – BillJ May 7 at 15:42
  • @BillJ: As I said, I don't understand the cited text anyway. Specifically, I don't know (or care, for the purposes of my argument here) what "linguistic gaps" refers to. But syntactically, it seems to me that including the article strongly implies that such gaps do in fact exist. Whereas without the article that implication is far weaker, which allows the cited example to be "valid" even if the writer and/or his audience are open-minded (or even sceptical) as to whether they exist or not. So although it's "not required", it could have semantic significance. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 8 at 13:48
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Your sentence can work in both versions. But the first one is the best in your sentence current structure as you are talking about those gaps in general. Whereas in the second version, I would expect as a reader "the linguistic gaps" to be defined either previously or in the current position of their mention since they have become specified by the addition of the definite article.

A clarification example (which means that the following extra text isn't necessarily the one to add. This solely depends on what you want to convey):

In our daily unexamined routines of language, we easily overlook the linguistic gaps that are about syntax, grammar, and phonetics concepts.

Or even better

In our daily unexamined routines of language, we easily overlook the linguistic syntax, grammar, and phonetics gaps.


Here's an article about this matter.

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    I don't think including the article has any implications for whether or not the noun might be further modified. All it does is unambiguously indicate that there definitely are some "linguistic gaps" (where without the article it might be equivalent to ...overlook any linguistic gaps, which allows for the possibility that no such gaps might exist). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 7 at 13:32
  • Yes, and that's why any "linguistic gaps" is about indicating them in general, whereas some "linguistic gaps" is about a particular, specified group of such gaps. I don't see where my answer and your comment contradict each other. But I totally respect your point of view alongside the downvote. – Tasneem ZH May 7 at 13:49
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    I think you miss my point. With no additional context, there's no reason to assume that including the article refers to any specific (previously, or contextually identified) "gaps". The only "semantic" content the carries is that at least some gaps do in fact exist. Whereas with any it's explicitly acknowledged that there might not be any gaps, and with no "determiner" at all there's no implication one way or the other on that specific point. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 7 at 14:01
  • Without the article, there may or may not be "linguistic gaps"; thus, this statement is stated in general. It doesn't provide any further information to assume anything about it. While with the definite-article, it makes the existence of those gaps certain. Now, whether it determines specific gaps or not (which is a possibility, not an actuality) it would depend on what the OP's want to convey. – Tasneem ZH May 7 at 14:31
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    Therefore, I wrote in my answer that it can be stated in that structure and be totally correct, but what makes the version without the article better is that this one when being heard, it would be expected to have additional information that justifies the presence of its definite article. – Tasneem ZH May 7 at 14:32

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