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. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 28 '15 at 19:00
  • @TRomano Can we even drop the article for the radio? – NS.X. May 29 '15 at 20:08
  • @NS.X. Yes, we can (books.google.com/ngrams/…) – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 29 '15 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 '15 at 19:52

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.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    You. might want to add that "watching the television" can be done with the TV off... – Stephie May 28 '15 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 '15 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 '16 at 21:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.