I am not sure if there is a difference between using "the" or not in these sentences below:

*Situation 1: At a talk show, I start my speech :

(1) Hi everybody, today, I am going to talk about (the) benefits of reading books.

*Situation 2: I ask one of my friends:

(2) Jim, do you know (the) benefits of reading books? I think you should read more books.

*Situation 3: I make a general statement:

(3) (The) benefits of reading books are obvious. A lot of people nowadays spend more time on reading books.

*Situation 4: I ask my friend:

(4) Hey, What is (the) benefits of reading? Why should I read more?

*Situation 5: I start an paragraph:

Here are (the) benefits of reading:

a.Reading Increases General Knowledge.

b.Reading Reduces Stress.


Im not sure if "the" is optional in my sentences, and what is the difference between them. My instinct says that I should use "the" in situations above.But I just don't know why.

1 Answer 1


Omitting "the" is entirely appropriate in these sentences. It would be needed if there were specific books under discussion, such as the material for a university course, but you are talking up reading in general.

  • These sentences have the same meaning, even with or without "the". Right?
    – LE HANH
    Dec 8, 2022 at 5:50
  • 3
    I don't agree. To me, the sentences sound odd without the article, and imply 'only some of the possible benefits'. (4) should read "What are the benefits...?" Dec 8, 2022 at 9:30

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