In my Grammar book I have...

She's been watching television.

Can we also say...

She's been watching the television

I just want to know if they are the same.

  • We drop the article far more often with TV than with radio.
    – TimR
    May 28, 2015 at 19:00
  • @TRomano Can we even drop the article for the radio?
    – NS.X.
    May 29, 2015 at 20:08
  • @NS.X. Yes, we can (books.google.com/ngrams/…)
    – TimR
    May 29, 2015 at 22:02
  • @TRomano - True, but there are some contexts where we wouldn't. For example, if someone asked me, "Where's Darla?", and I knew Darla was in her room listening to Q105-FM, I'd probably say, "She's in her room, listening to the radio." (and not omit the article). If I were omitting the article, I would probably be talking about something different, like media demographics: "Fewer people are listening to radio nowadays."
    – J.R.
    Jul 9, 2015 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


The two sentences are similar in meaning but not identical.

She's been watching television.

This sentence means that she has been watching a category of entertainment, television. It's a general statement.

She's been watching the television.

This sentence is more specific, she has been watching a particular object, the television. The word the is identifying a particular thing among others and bringing it to our attention. As Stephie pointed out in the comments, this may or may not involve a television that is actually turned on. It only refers to watching a particular object.

  • 2
    You. might want to add that "watching the television" can be done with the TV off...
    – Stephie
    May 28, 2015 at 18:19
  • 2
    @Stephie - LOL, that's true – and funny. I'm watching the televsion. I want to make sure that nobody steals it.
    – J.R.
    May 29, 2015 at 10:04
  • I think the there is optional because the word television in that sentence isn't countable and the is not used to indicate a particular television.
    – Abbasi
    Dec 29, 2016 at 21:53

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