3

From ehealthMD's page on hypothyroidism:

Most symptoms, such as lower heart rate, tiredness, poor memory or difficulty in thinking, even constipation, are due to inadequate stimulation of the various organs in the body due to insufficient amounts of thyroid hormone.

Is the definite article necessary here? Could we omit it? After all, these are not some specific, previously mentioned organs:

Most symptoms, such as lower heart rate, tiredness, poor memory or difficulty in thinking, even constipation, are due to inadequate stimulation of various organs in the body due to insufficient amounts of thyroid hormone.

Or maybe the is used to indicate "the organs that are functioning poorly in hypothyroidism"? Or is "the various organs in the body" a large generic noun phrase?

The authors of the article are native speakers of English, judging by their names and positions.

3

With the article, "the various organs", what is meant is that inadequate stimulation of any one of them can result in symptoms.

Without the article, "various organs" could be understood to mean that when several organs concurrently receive inadequate stimulation, symptoms may arise.

0

I think the 'the' can be omitted, if we use the rule below (from bbc world service), but I guess the point here is that the various organs are the ones associated with the specific symptoms. That is, 'the' is used to indicate that the organ affected for e.g. tiredness is the brain (or whatever) not any organ, but this is very indirect, and the sentence seem to me to be imprecise, with the article or without it.

always omit the definite article

d) when making general statements about things, people and abstract ideas. In the following examples, a general statement (= - the) is contrasted with a specific reference (= + the):

'I enjoy reading contemporary fiction - especially the novels of David Lodge.'
'Poverty is one of the scourges of the 21st Century.'
'The poverty I witnessed in the inner city slums was indescribable.'
'You don't often see people drinking beer at cocktail parties.'

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.