"power grids" in the below refers to the power grids supplying electricity to the region from Texas to California, so I think "THE power grids" is right. Similarly, "demand" refers to the demand for electricity in the same region, so "THE demand" seems right. I was wondering whether I get it right.

It comes at 56:00 in the news clip, https://archive.org/download/KNTV_20220611_013000_NBC_Nightly_News_With_Lester_Holt/KNTV_20220611_013000_NBC_Nightly_News_With_Lester_Holt.mp4?t=660/720&ignore=x.mp4

-- Dangerous heat wave --

Here in the West tens of millions are suffering through a dangerously early heat wave gripping the region from Texas to here in California. The triple-digit temperatures causing concern over whether power grids can meet demand. Here’s Miguel Almaguer.

Tonight the brutal broil across much of the West, a heat wave so oppressive, forecasters say it could be dangerous or even deadly for some of the 51 million Americans now trapped under a heat dome. “I try not to go out because of the heat as well”

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    You could use either, depending on whether you're being more general or restricting it to particular grids and demand at particular places and times. If particular power grids have been discussed then "the" might be better, but it might also raise wider concerns about other power grids. This is why it helps to post a larger quote in the question, rather than require people to hunt around in long videos.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 15:46
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  • @Stuart F Thank you for your advice. I refined my post. Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 2:14
  • @FumbleFingers Thank you for the relevant links. Considering the contents of the links and the context of the above excerpt, I think that in the case of "the power grids can meet the demand", 'the power grids' and 'the demand' refers to all the power grids and the demand in the region, and that in the case of "power grids can meet demand", 'grids' and 'demand' refers to some or all of the grids and the demand in the region. I wonder whether I get it right. Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 8:03
  • I'm not sure that's exactly right. To my ear, the power grids can meet the demand only makers sense in a context where some specific demand is either ongoing or anticipated in the region served by "the" contextually-identified power grids. If the context hadn't clearly established some specific higher-than-normal demand, you wouldn't precede it by the. Obvious that demand could only be coming from energy users served by those power grids, but it would only usually be the demand if it was different to "normal" demand. Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 11:45

1 Answer 1


Either works in context.

"... the power grids ..." would mean some specific set of power grids, presumably the grid presently in place. "... power grids ..." would mean any power grids. But in context that would probably mean the grid currently in place. That is, the same thing.

If you were trying to make a point about the grid currently in place versus some other proposed grid or hypothetical grid, then the distinction would be meaningful.

I think it's often the case in English that a certain choice of words COULD change the meaning in some context, but in other contexts it just doesn't make a difference.

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