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I've read in Practical English Grammar that you don't usually put the definite article in front of so-called "half-general expressions". Is "Democratic values" in that category? Or does it require the definite article?

I'm sure I should say "The values of Democracy"

But is it "Democratic values" or "The democratic values"?

Is there a rule of thumb that can help see where not to use the definite article?

An example sentence:

"It doesn't matter that {blank} says that it adheres to (the ?) democratic values. It's still an autocracy."

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    "Values" is uncountable in this context. So it would not have the article. – Weather Vane Mar 11 at 21:50
  • @Weather The definite article can easily be put in front of uncountable nouns, like in "pass me the salt". Values here is plural and synonymous to beliefs. – Rusletov Mar 11 at 22:34
  • That is a shortening of "Pass me the salt cellar." It is still "sth adheres to democratic values" unless it goes on: "We adhere to the democratric values which we learnt at college." – Weather Vane Mar 11 at 22:37

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