I don’t like the books by that writer.

I don’t like books by that writer.

Could you explain, please, which version is appropriate here and why?

In my grammar book is mentioned only the second version. Does it mean "the" is redundant here because of "by that writer"?

  • Without context, this question can't really be answered. If your context is one where some specific books (by multiple authors) are contextually relevant, you might include the article, otherwise not. Apr 4, 2022 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


The meaning of the two sentences is the same.

The choice will depend purely on personal preference and possibly on the context.

If John says to Peter: Have you read any of the books by X? Peter might reply: I don't like the books by X, merely because John has used the in his question. But he could equally have omitted the article. There is no difference in meaning.

The definite article is generally used when the item/person being referred to has already been identified.

But in cases like these, it is understood that books by X means the books that X has written.

  • I can say (truthfully) that I like the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but not the Professor Challenger ones. Apr 4, 2022 at 10:38
  • 1
    Some books are required reading for my Literature course. I don't like the books by James Joyce. I may like books by James Joyce that are not on the list.
    – Peter
    Apr 4, 2022 at 11:10

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