I understand that with mass nouns you can use either a zero article or a definite article.
For Example, I can say:
- Pollution is very bad for you. = a general statement about pollution.(zero article)
- The pollution in England is very bad for you. = a more specific statement and so we use the.
The use of either article in the above sentences seems to be logical but what about sentences 3 and 4 below:
- The war between X and Y will go on for several years. = use of the.to describe a specific war.
- War between X and Y will go on for several years. = This says the same thing and contains specific information. It also sounds OK, but it uses a zero article.
What is the logic or rule involved here?
I have searched for a rule or context in which two similar sentences can use both article types, but can't find anything.