Which one is correct:

  1. Brother cannot express the enormous feelings of joy when he sees sisters being happy.

  2. Brother cannot express the enormous feelings of joy when he sees the sisters being happy.

These are just an examples. I'm more concerned to know which is more used "when he sees the sisters", or "when he sees sisters". It can be any example. In my native language both are translated same but when trying to translate from my native language to english they sometimes came different . Sometimes "sees the sisters" sometimes only "sees sisters".

  • 2
    Either could be correct. Neither is very good English. Please edit to provide details. What is the context, why are you writing this? What have you done to answer this question? What do you think is the correct answer and why? – James K Sep 10 '19 at 19:32

First, in English, it depends on what you are trying to say. There are times when a "the" would be entirely appropriate, and there are times when the zero article would be better. There is no "right way" and "wrong way" to structure a sentence like your example.

For instance, consider this:

Nothing warms my heart like seeing sisters happy.

That sentence is grammatical. It is saying that I like it when I see sisters rejoicing together. Note: I'm not talking about my sisters, I'm not talking about your sisters, I'm not talking about my mother and her sisters. That sentence is talking about sisters in general. It could be three sisters in Cameroon, it could be two sisters in northern Canada, it could be five sisters at a family reunion in Warsaw, Poland. Whenever I see sisters being happy together, it warms my heart.

Now for another example:

I cannot express my feelings of joy when I see the sisters happy.

This is also grammatical; however, by including the word the, it's obvious that I'm talking about a particular set of sisters. Suppose there is a book about two sisters who were orphaned and separated at birth, and then were reunited when they were much older. The narrator of the story might use the sentence I've written above, and we know the narrator isn't just talking about sisterly happiness in general, but a specific instance of it between the two sisters in the book.

Now for something closer to what you were trying to say in your examples:

A brother cannot express his enormous feelings of joy when he sees his sisters being happy.

Unless the brother is talking about sisters in general, we need some sort of determiner to express which set of sisters he is talking about. Now, if he's talking about his own siblings, his would be a much better choice than the. But other determiners could be used, depending on the context. For example:

When I was growing up, the family who lived across the street from us was very poor. But they always had joy, especially around the holidays. I would have never expected that my brother would stay friends with that family for decades and decades, but he still tries to visit them at least once a year. My brother can hardly express his joy when he sees those sisters being happy.

In short:

  • Do I need a determiner before the word sisters? (Answer: No, not if you are talking about sisters in general.)
  • Should the determiner be the word the? (Answer: Only if you are referring to a specific set of sisters, and the listener/reader knows who that is. Otherwise, it's probably best to use something more descriptive, like my, his, our, these, etc.
  • Thank you very much for your explanation and your efforts . This was very helpful . I cannot thank you enough . Just one more short clarification if you can, to understand it fully . If im talking in general i.e not two sisters or three sister but more i.e sister in college or group of sisters (in my country we refer so often the females sisters even if its not our sister ) , so i dont have to use the word " the " , unless if im using it when mentioning one ore two females ,i.e my cousins sisters. etc Thanks again . – LFC-M Sep 10 '19 at 21:19

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