1. Air in Delhi is usually unhealthy in winter due to pollution.

  2. The air in Delhi is usually unhealthy in winter due to pollution.

How does adding the definite article affect the sentence? What is the difference between these two sentences?

I do know how the definite article is used, but this is a unique case. In my opinion, since we are talking about specific air, i.e., the air of Delhi, we might use a definite article. But I also believe we don't need the definite article there because we have already mentioned the city name and have already made it specific. I am confused.

1 Answer 1


In this case it doesn't matter what article you will use, because it is a generic reference, which means that if you say The air/an air/air it all means the same --> you introduce representative of its kind.

It is connected to the term "Communicative dynamism". The most important piece of info in the sentence or the newest information you want to convey is "due to pollution".

  • Actually, not "an air", because "air" is uncountable, you can't have several separate "airs" in a place. But the others are right.
    – A. B.
    Jun 3, 2021 at 14:48
  • Yes, you're right. I was too focused on explaining the definition of generic reference that I forgot about that. Sorry.
    – Vojta_HU
    Jun 3, 2021 at 18:09

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