U.S. President Barack Obama looked weary when he responded Thursday to news of yet another mass shooting when he said: "Somehow, this has become routine."

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Can I put "the" in front of " news" here? If I can, what is the difference?


Using "news" and "the news" are both perfectly natural and idiomatic here. The meaning is the same, but there is a very slight difference in emphasis or tone.

"responded to the news of..." emphasizes "news" more, and suggests that "the news" is a single, important thing with which the reader is probably already familiar. For the sentence in question, I think this is actually slightly more appropriate, because of the dramatic, front-page nature of the event.

On the other hand, for more mundane subjects, the article-free version fits slightly better: "Obama did not even bother to respond to news of a small increase in the employment rate announced earlier this week."

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