I wrote:

The underlying assumption is that the web designers utilize visual cues such as horizontal or vertical lines, colored panels, boxes, special fonts or background images, to discriminate different regions of a web page.

Does "web designers" here needs "the". I don't know why, but I feel with "the", I can read it easier!!? Moreover, I just thought by using "the" I can distinguish a type of people!


English differs from some other languages in its usage of "the" (the definite article).

English does not use "the" before general categories. "The" is only used with nouns that can explicitly enumerated.

Omit definite article:

General category, you don't have specific individuals in mind:

Web designers are smart people

Still a general category; it only has an extra specifier. You still don't have specific individuals in mind:

Web designers from Google are highly motivated

Include definite article:

Now you have specific individuals in mind; you can list them out by name:

The web designers went out to lunch (that is, Alice, Bob, and Carol)

Contrast with Spanish

Spanish for example, uses the definite article with categories, unlike English.

If you enter "Programmers are smart" into Google translate from English to Spanish, you'll get:

Los programadores son inteligentes

Where "los" is the definite article.

More Info on categories

There are cases when you'd use the definite article with categories, but only indirectly. For example, in this case, "the" is modifying "subject" and not the category.

The subject of web designers intrigues me

More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_articles#Use_of_articles


If you are 'specific' about those web designers (say from ABC Company), then yes, you do require it.

If you are referring to web designers in general, you can drop it. Said that, without the definite article, it'll address to all web designers.

  • I just thought by using "the" I can distinguish a type of people! – Ahmad Aug 31 '15 at 10:24
  • That's true but not in this case. Imagine a room filled with programmers, designers and writers. You may go and announce, "The programmers will move to the right side". It then 'distinguishes'! :) – Maulik V Aug 31 '15 at 10:26
  • @Ahmad that is correct, but "distinguish" means you are talking about the difference between two (or more than two) groups of people. The sentence in your question only mentions one group, "web designers". If the next sentence said that "programmers" do something different from web designers, then "the web designers" and "the programmers" would be correct, because the two sentences taken together are distinguishing between two groups of people. – alephzero Aug 31 '15 at 16:27

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