Which sentences are correct?

  1. We didn't have air conditioning.
  2. We didn't have the air conditioning.
  3. We had no air conditioning.
  • Could you add a little context? All 3 sentences are grammatically correct in themselves. 1 & 3 have essentially the same meaning; 2 has a different meaning so which one you want to use depends on exactly what you're trying to say. Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 16:38
  • I just wanted to say I was hot (because we didn't... etc.)
    – Giuseppe
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 17:02
  • In that case Derek's answer is correct. Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 17:09

2 Answers 2


1 or 3. There is no definite article because you are not talking about a specific air conditioner system

  • 2
    Although if you change "air conditioning" to "air conditioner", it's 2 or 3 that are correct.
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 15:23
  • Without any context in the question you can't say that for sure, although the odds are pretty high that you're correct. Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 16:40

"Air conditioning" is a process, or abstract noun. Grammatically, it is similar to other abstract nouns such as "peace", "love", and "justice". Abstract nouns always take the zero article, as in your examples #1 and #3 (both of which are correct).

To change the abstract "air conditioning" noun into a concrete noun, you would say "air conditioner", which is the physical machine as opposed to the process of having the air be conditioned.

We don't have air conditioning. {zero article}

We don't have an air conditioner.

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