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Please, have a look at the following sentences:

  1. Executing agency (also referred to as "executing entity") shall mean the entity responsible for execution of UN-Women programme activities as defined in regulation 27.2.

  2. The funds generated through the round tables should be allocated directly to UNDP, or to the United Nations and specialized agencies, or to the beneficiary Governments responsible for execution of these projects, in order to reduce the number of intermediaries and shorten time-lags.

  3. The Executive Director of UNEP shall be responsible for the execution of the functions of UNEP under this MOU.

  4. Judges responsible for the execution of sentences must be appointed; meanwhile, criminal judges must perform this function.

  5. The manufacturer shall be responsible for the execution of the approved plan of remedial measures.

Could you please explain why the zero article is used in the first two sentences before the word "execution", while in the other three sentences there is the definite article before the same word?

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    Because sentences 1 and 2 are general statements, but 3, 4 and 5 are about specific instances? Aside: the phrase "Judges responsible for the execution of sentences" is a rather unfortunate choice of words. – Weather Vane Feb 20 at 12:37
  • @WeatherVane Could be worse: "Juges responsible for the execution of executions" – Ben A. Feb 20 at 12:45
  • @WeatherVane In other words, do you suggest that there is a difference in meaning? For example, this one sounds like a general statement to me: "Judges responsible for the execution of sentences must be appointed; meanwhile, criminal judges must perform this function". Nevertheless, it has the definite article before the word "execution". Let's say it is written this way: "Judges responsible for execution of sentences must be appointed; meanwhile, criminal judges must perform this function". Will the meaning change? – giga2712 Feb 20 at 12:48
  • Not a difference in meaning, but in usage of the article. – Weather Vane Feb 20 at 12:52
  • @WeatherVane Sorry, I can't provide further context since I found those sentences on Reverso Context. You are saying that there will not be a difference in meaning, it's just a question of correct and incorrect usage of the article. For example, let's focus on these two sentences: "Executing agency (also referred to as "executing entity") shall mean the entity responsible for execution of UN-Women programme activities as defined in regulation 27.2". "The Executive Director of UNEP shall be responsible for the execution of the functions of UNEP under this MOU". – giga2712 Feb 20 at 12:57
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The rule for using the definite article "the" is that it has to point to something definite, or specific.

In your example, it is referring to "execution of UN-Women programme activities".

The question is - does "UN-Women programme activities" refer to something specific? Is it a descriptive noun, or just a general description? If the answer is yes, it is a noun, then there can be a specific execution of these. In fact, "the execution" can be a property of the programme activities. If the answer is no, and it is a very loose description of something, then the execution of them can only be spoken of in the same broad terms, so the definite article is not appropriate.

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  • Thank you for your explanation! So if these "UN-Women programme activities" are a particular set of activities that are, for example, set out in a particular document, I should use the definite article before the word "execution". However, if these "UN-Women programme activities" are not specifically defined somewhere and can include a lot of different things (maybe limited only by the purpose, but not by a specific list of such activities), I should use the zero article before the word "execution". Am I right? – giga2712 Feb 20 at 16:00
  • @giga2712 That is really the determiner in this example. There may be other contexts where the verb takes on different meaning by adding the article. – Astralbee Feb 21 at 7:41

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