Which article should I use if I want to say, for example:

Let's discuss/Let's talk about (the) English/Russian grammar.

Is the definite article “the” needed here or not?

2 Answers 2


The definite article is definitely NOT required, as stated by the previous commenter, and is actually more common and natural without it, i.e. Let's discuss Russian grammar. The use of the definite article here is not incorrect, however it is superfluous and awkward, at least to my ear.

In another context, one would say: I'm having trouble with Russian grammar. If one said the Russian grammar here, it would call to mind the grammar textbook, since this is also called a grammar.

Also note the following: Let's discuss...

  • Russian pronunciation, BUT the Russian sound system (or phonology)
  • Russian syntax OR Russian word order [no article]
  • Russian semantics BUT the Russian mentality
  • Russian vocabulary BUT the Russian lexicon
  • You could also say "I'm having trouble with the Russian grammar of this sentence", which sounds much more natural than without "the".
    – CJ Dennis
    Nov 15, 2018 at 3:14

The definite article is required as you are talking about the specific grammar of the specific language out of those three grammar

This said, it should be...

Let's discuss or talk about the English grammar.

It can also go without any article if you are talking about English grammar in general. Ah, I just said it!

  • 2
    Not in Anglo-American English. We speak of the English/German/&c grammar only if grammar has the sense of grammar-book. Grammar in the sense "body (or study) of grammatical rules" is like law or medicine or sport: where a determiner is called for, the proper adjective alone is adequate. Jun 7, 2014 at 13:30
  • @StoneyB I thought if there is an option of three languages as asked in question, it'd take the article. I've come across such instances where it took an article and the matter wasn't about the book.
    – Maulik V
    Jun 7, 2014 at 14:21
  • Can you provide an instance? The first 30 hits I find on "the English grammar" in Google all either a) occur in attributives (Answer the English grammar questions) in which the article is governed by the noun which English grammar modifies or b) derive from non-native speakers. Is there any possibility that this is an Indian English usage? Note that I was careful to qualify my comment as concerned with Anglo usage; I am not sufficiently knowledgeable about Indian English to judge where the line between learner error and regional Standard should be drawn. Jun 7, 2014 at 14:34
  • @StoneyB yes I've heard from a non native but learned person. Anyway another instance CSLI was responsible for building the English grammar for the deep-processing component of Verbmobil, which utilized a semantic transfer approach, requiring both parsing and generation...
    – Maulik V
    Jun 7, 2014 at 15:35
  • 2
    Aha! In that case you are not speaking of English grammar as we ordinarily intend the phrase--the grammar of the natural language--but of a non-linguistic artifact which emulates 'English grammar' in order to produce or translate English-language utterances: the 'English grammar' module or subprogram or library. Jun 7, 2014 at 16:48

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