Which article should be used?

1 A lot of tourists come to our town during the year/a year.

2 How many days are there in the/a year?

I come across either.

  • 1
    Regardless of the article, I don't understand the point of during a/the year here. When else could they come? It's perfectly natural to say A lot of tourists come to our town during the summer, obviously. Aug 27, 2023 at 18:01
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because "during a/the year" makes no sense to me in this context. Aug 27, 2023 at 18:02
  • I could cone during the winter. But if I say during the years it means that people come during all four seasons.
    – user1425
    Aug 28, 2023 at 17:01
  • 1
    No - if you say "during the years" it means that you're not a native Anglophone! If people come during all four seasons we say "all year round" or "all year long" (or "throughout the year"). Aug 28, 2023 at 17:10
  • Years was a typo. I meant year. So, if to say "during a year" is wrong and it should be "all year round", why is it that it's OK to say "during the winter"? Or do you also say "all winter round"?
    – user1425
    Aug 28, 2023 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


Just remove it, because it doesn't make sense. "A lot of tourists come to our town" means "They come at a high rate", you don't need to mention "a year" (or per year, etc)

You don't need to say "during the year" because that just means "at any point in time" which is meaningless.

You could say "A lot of tourists come every year", or "A lot of tourists come during the summer" or "in October".

For the second example, you'd probably used "in a year", unless "the year" could be understood from context to be a specific year.

  • I am surprised to see that you interpret "during" as "at any point in time". Here is a definition wordreference.com/definition/during throughout the duration of: He lived in Florida during the winter. Your definition is also there but it's not the only one.
    – user1425
    Aug 27, 2023 at 9:43
  • No, I'm saying "during a year" is more or less meaningless. As It is always during a year. On the other hand "during a winter" is meaningful, as it is not always winter.
    – James K
    Aug 27, 2023 at 19:22

The second example is pure grammar...

  • How many days are there in the year?

Definite article: this year is 2023, so the answer is 365.

  • How many days are there in a year?

Indefinite article: 365, or 366 if it is a leap year.

The first example feels a bit strange, but the same grammar rules apply. I can make it work with either...

  • A lot of tourists come to our town during the year/a year.

Normally we get a few thousand tourists come to our town during a year. Because of the total eclipse, over a hundred thousand came during last year.

NB: I found this very hard to type. My fingers wanted to put "Thousands of visitors a year come to our town." If the visitors are steadily coming, a few a day is thousands per year; but a lot per year has little meaning.

  • If "the year" is a current year than what would "the winder mean"? "A lot of tourists come to our town during the winter." Does it mean the current winter or every winter?
    – user1425
    Aug 27, 2023 at 9:52
  • @user1425 I think the same rules apply. 'Most tourists come in the winter' feels right, and 'Most tourists come in a winter' does not. We refer to a particular season out of four, so the definite article is right. Example of the indefinite: A modern winter is warmer than a winter from Dickens' childhood. Aug 27, 2023 at 10:29
  • I see it differently. When you say "the year" you mean the current year. But when you say "the winter" it's not clear which winter is implied - the current winder OR some winter. It's tricky. The year means THIS YEAR but THE WINTER means every winter.
    – user1425
    Aug 27, 2023 at 16:57

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .