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I'm student of English Philology. I have a little specific problem from determiners. I don't know when I should use determined kind of determiners.

For example in this sentence

Our mayor is really conscientious ruler because he provided protective masks for inhabitants.

Where should I use determiners and why? I'm waiting for our kind and understandable answers. Thanks for them

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    Does this answer your question? Articles: When do I use "a", "the", or "__"? Apr 23 '20 at 11:45
  • For what it's worth, in this case, it would be our mayor is really a conscientious ruler … It's not the, because he's not the only one in the world who's conscientious. And because it's a singular noun, you need an article (or possessive or determiner of some kind). If the sentence were just our mayor is really conscientious, without the rest of the sentence (or just without ruler), that would be fine too. Apr 23 '20 at 11:46
  • I immediately understand better, thanks for your effort. But Shouldn't I use any articles before protective masks and inhabitants? Apr 23 '20 at 12:55
  • If it's a plural noun (masks and inhabitants), you don't necessarily need an article. (1) I like apples. That means I like apples in general. (2) I like the apples. That means I like a specific set of apples—although it would be more common to say these or those, perhaps while pointing to them. Depending on what you are expressing, the article doesn't have to be there with plural nouns. Apr 23 '20 at 14:50
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Our mayor is a really conscientious ruler because he provided protective masks for [the] inhabitants.

A is needed before "really consicentious ruler", because "ruler" is a singular count noun, and there is no context that licenses dropping the article.

An article is not possible before "protective masks", because that is plural and does not denote specific masks. Edit: Jason points out that there could be an article there if it referred to particular masks, such that the speaker expects the hearer to know which ones are meant. I missed that reading.

The is possible before "inhabitants", but changes the meaning. With "the", it is definite, and implies "all the inhabitants" (or, rather "all the inhabitants relevant to the established context"). Without, it is indefinite, and implies only some inhabitants - maybe all, but not necessarily.

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  • Your statement that no article is possible before protective masks is false. It would be fine to say the protective masks, treating the plural amount as a specifically referenced set of masks. "Those red masks are great masks." "Yes, he's a conscientious ruler because he provided [the] protective masks for [the] inhabitants." Apr 23 '20 at 19:03
  • @JasonBassford: thanks, you're right. Answer edited.
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 23 '20 at 20:37

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