Zeman, who paid a four-day state visit to China on October 24-27, has told Chinese Television that he did not go to China to teach lessons on human rights but, on the contrary, to learn ways to stabilise society.


Is the absence of the definite article before the word "society" OK?

  • 2
    Yes. It's fine. It's standard, in fact...
    – Catija
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 23:06

4 Answers 4


Yes, it is perfect. You could even argue that if it did have a definite article it would become less clear. As Catija mentioned, it is a standard construction.


Sounds perfect. Having any article before the word would change the meaning entirely.


Society here is representing the unified idea of a non-specific referral to any society you know - all societies (plural, needs no article) and yet also refers to none in particular. . (needs no "the" speficic article).


I think an article is warranted in this instance, especially since the word "society" is singular. The statement above would be similar to

The med student learned to save patient. Correct usages would be The med student learned to save a patient ... (say by performing a procedure)

The med student learned to save patientS ... (by ...)

The med student saved the patient.

The statement without an article does not sound right.

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