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Tickets cost 20 dollars or so.

The sentence is from a dictionary. (Source)

Why there is no "the" article if it is definitely said about particular tickets?

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    It's quite normal to dispense with the article in "announcement" contexts like this, where the "particular" instances of a plural noun are being used as the subject of the assertion. Compare, say, Doors open at 6 pm, which might appear alongside the cited example. Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 12:12
  • @FumbleFingers, It's informal speech [because of "or so"]. How it can be "announcement"?
    – Sergei
    Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 13:13
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    Whether it's spoken or written on a placard doesn't change the fact that "Tickets cost 20 dollars" and "Doors open at 6 pm" are both "announcements" conveying information (probably to the general public) about some "arranged, scheduled" event. What makes you think either or both examples here aren't announcements? Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 13:34
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    @FumbleFingers - To be fair to Sergei, an official announcement would give the exact price and not the vague '...or so'. But I agree that it's perfectly idiomatic to omit the article in this context. Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 13:50

2 Answers 2

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Express a general idea with a plural countable noun:

  • Tickets to the opera can be very expensive.

  • Tickets go on sale at noon.

  • Apples are good for you.

  • Rich people are a pain in the neck.

Tom: Hey John, what do tickets cost? [non-specific, but they already know what they are talking about]
John: Tickets cost 20 dollars.

Tom: What do the tickets for that school play cost? John: The tickets for that play are $10.00

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It is not definitely said about particular tickets.

Tickets cost 20 dollars. There are no particular tickets that have been mentioned, so why assume that.

If only one ticket was mentioned you would say

A ticket costs 20 dollars.

Here it is explicit. The article is indefinite.

It would be grammatical to say

I have some tickets and some vouchers. The tickets cost about $20.

Because now the tickets are the particular tickets mentioned in the first sentence.

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  • "There are no particular tickets that have been mentioned, so why assume that." - Because of "... 20 dollars or so". I can't imagine a situation when is used this phrase in general. But you? For example, if a person tells us that in that museum "tickets cost 20 dollars or so." I suppose we need to say "The tickets [in that museum] cost 20 dollars or so." Right?
    – Sergei
    Commented Dec 12, 2021 at 9:42

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