The law of conservation of "the"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Jan 24 02:49:54 UTC 2010

At 1/23/2010 05:23 PM, Lynne Murphy wrote:
>--On Friday, January 22, 2010 08:25 -0800 Arnold Zwicky
><zwicky at STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
>>On Jan 22, 2010, at 7:15 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>>At 1/22/2010 07:27 AM, Lynne Murphy wrote:
>>>>... On 'the' in front of 'hospital' and some medical conditions:
>>>><>>> >
>>> From the above, the law of conservation of "the":
>>>"So one's tempted to say that there's a the balance at work here: if
>>>a 'the' goes missing in one dialect, it has to be replaced somewhere
>>>else within that dialect."
>>surely Lynne was writing with tongue in cheek.  it's an entertaining
>>idea, but preposterous.
>"One's tempted to" is my main cheek-tongue marker, but the sentiment that I
>was trying to express was 'Americans/Brits reading this blog: please stop
>writing me to ask why Brits/American "ALWAYS" add/omit definite articles!'

My cheek-tongue marker is ":-)".  I apologize for omitting it this
time, although I assumed everyone would see through me.


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