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Can I use the plural nouns in the given sentences with and without the. What difference in meaning does the create in the sentences? And as an English speaker which one sounds best to your ears?

  1. John, I have been to many countries in my life. I can tell you one thing that (the) people in America are politically very aware.
  2. (The) students at this school are diligent, intelligent and smart.

As an ESL learner it confuses me a lot because I have seen sentences like these are used both with and without the. And I can't figure it out. Could anyone please explain?

My probelms begin when nouns with plural from come before prepositions like -(the) people in America, (the) teachers at this scool.

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For the most part, the meaning stays the same, with or without the.

The meaning of "people in America are politically aware" is: *the majority of people in America are politically aware" or "all typical Americans are politically aware."

The literal meaning of "the people in America are politically aware" is: all of the people in America are politically aware.

However, these kinds of statements are often meant non-literally; they are exaggerations. That is, the intended meaning is often "most of the people in America..." or "virtually all of the people..." or "all of the typical people..."

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