Consider the following passage from a webnovel:

His feet touched the waters of the river. He walked with the same emotionless face. Even with superficial lights, he clearly saw the gloom on the elder’s face as well as the glares from the youths.

As elder and youths were previously mentioned in the chapter, the definite article before them is necessary.
What I'm concerned about is the articles before gloom and glares. They were not mentioned previously, so I'd rather omit them to not use the too much.

However, based on what I remember, one has to use the in such situations, so it's mandatory to use four the here.
Namely, we have to use the because it's specified that glares we're talking about are only the ones that come from the youths. Same goes to gloom.

Do I remember it correctly, and if so, how is this rule called?
If I remember incorrectly, is it up to the writer to decide whether to use the before gloom and glares?

  • Keep in mind that "the" isn't only used for "things that were previously mentioned". It's also used for "things that are specifically identified, rather than general examples", even if this is the first time they're mentioned. The comment I'm writing, the time I'm writing it at, the room I'm in, the look on my face... Apr 16, 2020 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


It's up to the writer to choose whether to use the before gloom and glares. Either choice will result in a slightly different meaning.

Using the implies that the walking character is familiar with the gloom and the glares. Perhaps he has heard stories about people in his current situation. Perhaps he is familiar with the solemness of the elders. In some way he expected this gloom and these glares.

Omitting the may imply that expressions of the faces of the onlookers, and by extension the whole situation, are novel or unexpected.

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