I'm trying to improve by ability to recognize instances when the inclusion of the word 'that', prepositions, definite articles, etc. are technically right, but unnecessary.

Do I need to use 'the' in this sentence or is it okay without it?

The cameraman focuses his equipment on Mr. Don, but he is saved by the arrival of authorities.


The cameraman focuses his equipment on Mr. Don, but he is saved by arrival of authorities.

The second sounded odd to me at first, but then I considered that this sentence makes sense.

The cameraman focuses his equipment on Mr. Don, but he is saved by anger.

So "saved + by + some other noun" sometimes works.....is the article always needed?

  • The second sentence, lacking the definite article, is unidiomatic and is likely to put off native speakers. For an analysis of why, I can't recommend highly enough the experts over on our sister site, English Language Learners. You should ask there. – Dan Bron Mar 2 '16 at 13:46
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    This is a good question for ELL StackExchange. – CowperKettle Mar 2 '16 at 13:48
  • The third sentence sounds very strange. Saved by anger? – Edwin Ashworth Mar 2 '16 at 14:17
  • I know. It was a random noun used to show that there are situations where nouns sound fine without the 'the'. In the proper textbook of a book, 'saved by anger' wouldn't sound strange anymore. Sorry for the confusion! – Danielle Mar 2 '16 at 19:06
  • I think the is more appropriate here because you're talking about a specific instance of "arrival", not "arrival (of any authorities)" in general. – Damkerng T. Mar 3 '16 at 3:03

We could rephrase the second part of the first sentence according to the pattern [saved + by + some other noun]:

He is saved by the event and this event actually is the arrival of authorities.

So using the definite article seems to be more appropriate for specifying that special event due to he was saved this time.

A counter-example of using the same pattern without any article could be:

He was saved by God’s grace.

The latter is a proper noun, so it requires no article.

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