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In the sentence below, is it correct that whether or not to use the definite article depends on whether the noun I use is countable or uncountable? "Growth" is uncountable so the definite article isn't needed. But "rise" is countable so I have to add the definite article?

The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and growth/the rise is forecast to continue.

What about "increase"? It can be either countable or uncountable so I don't know if I should use the definite article with it.

The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and increase/the increase is forecast to continue.

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2 Answers 2

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I think that omitting any determiner in the first sentence is too vague. In fact, although you could use a definite article, I'd probably use "that" instead:

The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and that rise is forecast to continue.

The same is true of your second sentence:

The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and that increase is forecast to continue.

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Consider the options:

  • (1) The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and growth is forecast to continue.
  • (2) The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and the growth is forecast to continue.
  • (3) The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and the rise is forecast to continue.
  • (4) The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and this rise is forecast to continue.
  • (5) The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and that rise is forecast to continue.
  • (6) The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and rise is forecast to continue. Red X, indicating an incorrect form
  • (7) The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and the increase is forecast to continue.
  • (8) The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and this increase is forecast to continue.
  • (9) The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and that increase is forecast to continue.
  • (10) The percentage of over-65s in Japan has been increasing, and increase is forecast to continue.

All of these, except sentence (6) are grammatically valid. I would rather strongly disfavor sentence (10) as well.

I don't think either (1) or (2) should be particularly favored, to address the original question. A fluent speaker might write either. I would favor (4) over (5)and either of those over (1) but that is a matter of style, not a rule of any sort. The word "rise" needs a determiner of some sort here, which is why (6) is not acceptable.

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  • Thank you very much for your answer. Why is (10) correct? Even though "increase" can be either countable or uncountable, according to the dictionary it is countable in this context. Therefore, I think that a determiner is needed. Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 10:09
  • @newbie forever Just because I have heard and read "increase" used in that way often enough to think it acceptable, even if not good writing. Usage trumps rules. Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 14:38
  • Thanks again. So I can use "the" with the uncountable noun "growth". But why in this new sentence, "the" is not needed. Native speakers told me to use "ownership" and not "the ownership". 30% of households owned a washing machine in 1920. Ownership then increased to 70% in 1960. Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 15:40

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