I found a bit of a discrepancy. On the one hand, in the Longman dictionary, the word 'media' goes with 'the' in expressions like 'the news media', 'the mainstream media'. On the other hand, through Google search, I found out that expressions like 'Chinese state media' go with no article. Please explain.

  • "Media" is plural. You can refer to all or some of them. Apr 15, 2020 at 1:38

1 Answer 1


Plural words, like "media", do not always require an article. It depends on whether or not you are referring to something specific.

  • Horses eat grass. (Horses, in general, eat grass.)
  • The horses eat grass. (These particular horses eat grass.)

If you say, "The Chinese state media" you are referring to the specific media operated by the Chinese state. However, you can say, "Chinese state media" to refer, generally, to media operated by the Chinese state.

You should also keep in mind that newspapers (if that's what you are reading) always try to conserve words where possible, so if a phrase doesn't really need an article (such as "Chinese state media") a newspaper writer will often leave it out.

  • What about 'the mainstream media' etc. (the Longman dictionary)? The expressions don't refer to specific news outlets, rather to a specific group (pretty much like 'Chinese media') Apr 15, 2020 at 15:10
  • @Sergey I'm not sure I totally understand the question... "the" indicates that you are referring to something specific; it could be a single thing, or a group of things. "The mainstream media" means the dominant media outlets, as opposed to all news media. However, you can also refer to "mainstream media" as a general category. It depends on the context.
    – SarahT
    Apr 15, 2020 at 16:09
  • I don't understand why 'Chinese state media' (as a whole) is not specific enough. You could apply the same logic to 'mainstream media': if you mean specific mainstream media, use 'the', no article if you refer to it generally Apr 29, 2020 at 8:03

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