The dam, as currently designed, would affect the quality of Egypt’s drinking water and potable water stations, as well as the Egyptian-Sudanese water reserves in Lake Nasser.

(Source: Al Monitor)

If the writer did not write in lake Nasser, Would he to also omit "the" in the Egyptian-Sudanese water reserves?

As I know, the writer did not use "the" before potable water stations because he was speaking in general about stations in Egypt. So if he omits in Lake Nasser will that mean that he is speaking about a general reserves?

  • 2
    The real reason the writer could not use "the" before potable water stations is that it's already modified by the possessive Egypt's, and you can't have both an article and a possessive. Without the word Egypt's, either the definite or the zero article would be correct. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 11:14
  • The short answer is yes and yes. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 15:04
  • @PeterShor yes indeed. It was late. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 17:08
  • Please cite your source and, if possibe, provide a link to it. When you quote something you did not write, it is legally necessary to cite what you quoted. Also, many times it helps in answering te question. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


Lake Nasser is a proper noun, and does not take an article in English. A proper noun is the specific name of person, place, or organization, spelled with initial capital letters. Similarly, we do not say "The Cairo."

"Potable water stations" does not take an article because stations already has a determiner: it is modified by "Egypt's", just as "drinking water" is.

In the phrase "the Egyptian-Sudanese water reserves," the writer uses the definite article to emphasize that he refers here only to the Egyptian-Sudanese water reserves that are contained in Lake Nasser. The sentence and this phrase, though, would have the same meaning if he had omitted it.

  • thank you for your comment but why the usage would be correct with or without the definite artice? My guess is that we could think the writer speaks generally about water reserves so he could omit "the" or we can think he speaks specifically about the the Egyptian-Sudanese water reserves ? Is my guess right ? in other words what is the difference in meaning if he use or omit the in the Egyptian-Sudanese water reserves? Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 7:42
  • @ GamalThomas - No. It has nothing to do with "speaking generally." The writer could also have written the potable water stations without changing the meaning of the sentence. Plural nouns in English take the definite article in English, when they do take an article. In these cases, it is merely a matter of the writer's choice and style. In this sentence, there is no difference in meaning between Egyptian-Sudanese water reserves and the Egyptian-Sudanese water reserves. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 7:53
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    There is actually a slight difference in meaning between using 'the' before 'Egyptian-Sudanese' (or not). Using 'the' indicates a specific or authoritative group (in this case implying there is a specific or official list of 'Egyptian-Sudanese water reserves' the author is referring to), while not using 'the' indicates a more general or non-specific group (if there multiple different lists of Egyptian-Sudanese water reserves). If you said 'the moon' you are indicating the only moon orbiting the earth, while if you said 'moon' (without a 'the'), you may be talking about a moon located anywhere. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 8:47
  • @MarkRipley You are absolutely correct. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 16:59

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