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Could anyone explain the difference between these two sentences:

  • In that sense, concerns about the preservation of traditional knowledge, and the continued way of life of those holding such knowledge, may be symptomatic of the underlying problems that face these communities in the face of external pressures.

  • The concerns about commercial advertising had still not been
    addressed successfully.

Why the first sentence has no 'the' before 'concerns', while the second has?

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Without seeing the rest of the original text, I cannot be sure, but I would suggest that, in the case of the second sentence, there was a previous sentence which introduced or described the concerns.

The first sentence introduces the concerns about preservation of knowledge; while the second sentence assumes that the concerns about advertising are already introduced.

  • You can also omit "the" and the sentence would sound just find. However, as noted by jimbobmcgee, the the assumes that the concerns have already introduced. The opposite is true as well. The "the" conveys that these are the concerns we have been talking about and some new set of concerns. – Pierce Devol Jul 3 at 15:16
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"The" is a definite article, which means that sentence 2 is more specific about the concerns in question than sentence 1.

In sentence 1, the speaker is acknowledging the possibility that some concerns may exist, without specifying any single concern. This is very similar in meaning to:

In that sense, [any] concerns about the...

In sentence 2, the speaker is saying that there are a defined set of specific concerns. Using "the" here means that the speaker knows exactly which concerns they are referencing, and assumes that the reader is also familiar with them.

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