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Let's imagine a small firm where all people know each other very well. This firm consists of five groups A, B, C, D & E. Each group was involved in some process. Together they were doing one big project. Now when they have already done it they all went to the office party. There aren't any other people at this party. An announcer says:

1. Let's all thank <the> group A, B, and C.

2. Thank you to <the> groups A, B and C.

My opinion: all the people at the party know each other and know who in what groups worked. That's why we must use "the", but I was told that only variants without "the" are correct.

So:

Why can we say 1. & 2. without "the" before "group(s)"?

Why cannot we say 1. & 2. with "the" before "group(s)"?

Thanks!

  • I personally don't see an error with using "the" – Bella Swan Jul 16 at 9:54
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    If they are teams called literally A, B, C: Let's all thank teams A, B and C or more likely: Let's thank all the teams. If the groups have functional names: Let's all thank the finance team, the sales team, the backoffice team. If they all know each other well they might say Let's all thank finance, sales, backoffice. – jonathanjo Jul 16 at 13:35
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    I am a native English speaker. I find the only one that sounds natural and correct is: "2. Thank you to groups A, B and C." "1. Let's all thank the group A, B, and C." sounds clumsy and wrong (though it might still be used in spoken language) 1. Let's all thank group A, B, and C." sounds wrong because there are multiple groups so "groups" seems better. – brendan Jul 30 at 14:49
  • I hope my answer clarifies some of these comments. – Brad Aug 13 at 22:18
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****only variants without "the" are correct.**

  1. Let's all thank group A, B, and C.

  2. Thank you to groups A, B and C.**

In this case "The" should be used only if the noun is singular. for example Let's all thank the finance team and the sales team and in these cases it must be used, if you wish to include all the people on each team. If you were to say and let's all thank Sales team it does not sound (and is not) correct. If you say let's all thank Sales it is ambiguous. Are you thanking the sales team or thankful for the amount of sales? Now let's take a more detailed look at the examples.

Let's all thank group A, B, and C. or Let's all thank the group A, B, and C.

Here we could use the, why? because there is only one group and it's name is group A, B, and C Therefore, in this case if we wish to include all the people in the group we can use the. However if we just want to thank group A, B, and C but not be inclusive we can use Let's all thank group A, B, and C So in each case it is grammatically correct but the meaning alters. A typical example of a bad example.

  1. Thank you to groups A, B and C. or Thank you to the groups A, B and C

Here we would not use the, Why? because the noun is not singular, there are 3 groups, Group A, Group B, & Group C.

So to summarise the statement I was told that only variants without "the" are correct. is misleading and incorrect.

We can use or not use "the" before "group" (However the meaning will be slightly different and ambiguous without "the").

We cannot use "the" before "groups"?

the; determiner (PARTICULAR); Cambridge English Dictionary used before a singular noun to refer to all the things or people represented by that noun:

The panda is becoming an increasingly rare animal.

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