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John had a very good day and put his wallet containing £3,000 into the microwave oven for safekeeping. Then he and Jane went horse-riding. When they got home, Jane cooked their dinner in the microwave oven and without realizing it, cooked her fiancé's wallet as well. Imagine their dismay when they found a beautifully-cooked wallet and notes turned to ash! John went to see his bank manager who sent the remains of wallet and the money to the special department of the Bank of England in Newcastle: the Mutilated Ladies!

I feel that before the wallet, the should be added.

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  • Yes, it should. But that makes it difficult to write an interesting answer to your question, so I will vote to close. (Also, microwaves don't work like that) – The Photon Mar 21 at 3:32
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    It should be the wallet and the money, or wallet and money. "Remains of wallet and money" is correct, but I don't know what the rule is. Because of this alternative the question should remain open. – Peter Mar 21 at 3:34
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Possibly not a good answer. Perhaps someone can do better?

You are correct in thinking it should say the wallet because the money is specified. Two specific objects are identified. When identifying two or subjects in a group a definitive article should proceed the first noun (subject), and each noun afterwards if desired (Too much use of the gets tedious. (The wallet, the money, and the whole ruined mess).

I have never seen an instance where the is used to identify a second subject and not the first. Peter also identified not using the at all, because the two items are combined into one item (wallet and money)

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  • Going out on a limb here but I think this needs a proper answer. Sure it doesn't sound grammatical to the native speaker, but why? What's the rule I can't seem to name? – G Warner Mar 21 at 4:32
  • I think the key feature is that here 'wallet and money' comprise multiple things considered together (because they were cooked together, and sent together in one package to the Bank of England). Although it is correct to write (or say) 'the wallet and the money', the 'rule' (if you want to call it that) is that we can avoid repetition of articles in a list if they would be tedious for the reader or hearer, and the emphasis is on the list considered as a whole. I killed the snake, the spider, and the toad. I want a house with garden, hot tub, and pool. – Michael Harvey Mar 21 at 9:45
  • @MichaelHarvey But there is a the before money. If wallet and money are comprised together, it shouldn't be add a the before money. Am I right? – Y. zeng Mar 21 at 9:55
  • @Y.zeng - the remains of money and wallet, the remains of the money and the wallet. Both possible. – Michael Harvey Mar 21 at 9:59
  • @MichaelHarvey What about the remains of the money and wallet? – Y. zeng Mar 21 at 10:09

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