Do I need to add "the" into this sentence?


The bases for growth in the real estate industry include sustainable economic growth, rapid urbanization due to expanded investment on the transportation and infrastructure system, high demand for property due to growth in per capita income, and increase in foreign investment.

Assuming there is no context, just this sentence alone. I am not sure if this sentence is correct or there is any grammar problem in it. For example, I feel like it could have been "the high demand for" and "the increase in" but then, they don't sound right to me.

Generally, I am quite confused with the usage of "the" as I am not sure when to use it and not to use it, especially in business writing. For example, I'm not sure whether it should be "Industry supply will increase to meet demand of new housing" or "Industry supply will increase to meet the demand of new housing."


Posted 2016-12-21T08:40:24.793

Reputation: 151

3In the example sentence you give, you would appear to be speaking generally, about what determines "the bases for growth in the real estate industry". If that be the case I would NOT suggest using "the" in the places you propose. Remember "the" is a definite article, and is only used where you refer to a specific instance of something. The sentence would, however, benefit if you said "a high demand for property" and "an increase in foreign investment". It seems it is the indefinite article that you need here. – WS2 – 2016-12-21T09:29:44.263

Thanks for your comment. Should I use "an increase" if I mean that the increase is a general trend instead of an instance? – None – 2016-12-21T11:13:29.497

@WS2 - What you said is generally true, but remember that the has other uses besides "a specific instance of something." For example, we can also use the to indicate a general case, as in Elizabeth plays the piano, or The lion is the king of the jungle. And perhaps we should provide the O.P. with a link to the community for []. – J.R. – 2016-12-21T11:17:02.557

@J.R. Maybe better to vote to migrate it to ELL? – Dan Bron – 2016-12-21T11:36:06.287

@DanB - with newer users, I think it's most important to make them aware of both communities. There's the smaller issue of what to do with a particular question, and the larger issue of where will this person ask their next five questions. (In this case, I think the question could be migrated or remain here.) – J.R. – 2016-12-21T11:39:08.057

@J.R. Yeah, we're on the same wavelength. When I suspect an OP is a non-native and non-fluent speaker, I almost always post a comment encouraging them to check out ELL. Since you had already done that, my comment was directed towards the disposition of this specific question. – Dan Bron – 2016-12-21T11:46:31.593

A search of "definite article" on this site returned 1,143 hits. Purdue Online Writing Lab explains how to use articles.

– None – 2016-12-21T12:12:54.917

@DanBron - Just curious, what reasons made you think that I am a non-fluent speaker besides my questions? I am just trying to figure out if there is anything I can do to make my writing sound more native. – Dtan13 – 2016-12-21T15:55:30.113

@Dtan13 Please do not take any of my comments as criticism or an indictment of your command of English in any way. They were not intended as such, at all. It was the nature of the question that gave you away. These sorts of questions do not even occur to native speakers, who instinctively know how and when to use "the" without even thinking about it, even though they could never explain their reasoning to you. Also small signals like "any grammar problem" instead of "problems" (plural), though that could easily be a typo and my own writing is riddled with such small errata. – Dan Bron – 2016-12-21T16:00:13.353

@J.R. Yes, I agree entirely about the piano and the whale is the largest creature in the sea. But that is a very particular use of the definite article, which in a sense is expressing specificity. e.g. I prefer the flute to any other musical instrument. – WS2 – 2016-12-21T17:49:05.210

@DanBron Thank you for your reply. I did not take your comments as criticism by the way. – Dtan13 – 2016-12-22T01:27:39.377

@WS2 - It's also a counterexample to your erroneous assertion that "the is a definite article, and is only used where you refer to a specific instance of something." – J.R. – 2016-12-23T20:28:50.907

@J.R. The flute is a specific instance of an orchestral instrument - is how I would respond. But it is a pretty useless discussion of semantics. – WS2 – 2017-01-02T19:05:48.317

@WS2 - I’d call my remark a useful clarification for the learner. See my post on DAMS for more details.

– J.R. – 2017-01-02T19:30:34.867

@J.R. Yes. I am not in disagreement with any of that. – WS2 – 2017-01-02T20:52:45.783



Let's start with your example. Part of what would make it sound "wrong" to add "the" to any one of the things you list is that it would break parallel structure unless you added it to all of them. Though this is a mistake that native speakers make frequently, it is not good style to say:

My shopping cart includes vegetables, meat, the cookie, and ice cream.

because "the cookie" breaks parallel structure. I could instead say:

My shopping cart includes the carrot, the beef, the cookie, and the ice cream I needed.

A notable exception to this is that "the" can be used on the first item only, though it is implied that it applies to the others as well as in:

The Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights are all stored in the National Archives in Washington DC

Where "the" is implied before "Constitution" and "Bill of Rights".

As for when to use "the" versus when not to, "the" is used to denote one and only one of something. For example, if you were to say:

the increase in foreign investment

you are talking about a specific increase. It might sound more natural if you provide additional context, like saying:

the increase in foreign investment that resulted from globalization.

or something similar. When you omit "the", you are no longer referring to one and only one of something, typically you are instead referring to something in general. You can say:

Housing markets benefit from factors including high demand and increase in foreign investment.

To talk about housing markets in general. High demand here is not referring to any particular period of high demand, just high demand in general. If I say:

The housing market in the United States benefited from the high demand due to the GI Bill, and the increase in foreign investment brought by expatriation from Europe.

It is clear that I am talking about particulars.


Posted 2016-12-21T08:40:24.793

Reputation: 1 653


Most of Noah's answer is very informational and helpful. The part of the answer remaining unaddressed, however, is how to fit "increase in foreign investment" into the rest of the listed items.

You have correctly identified an issue with that clause. The issue is that increase, as it's written in your original post, presents itself as a verb which is trying to blend into a list of objects. You have also correctly noted that using "the" or "a" with "increase" can clarify the sentence.

"Increase in foreign investment", without an article, refers to the action of something increasing investments in foreign business. You still need a subject for that phrase to work. "Apple will increase [their] foreign investment."

"The increase in foreign investment" refers to the actual increase itself, not the action of increasing. It's a valid subject. "The increase in foreign investment was quite large."

The solution is simple. Change "increase" (defaulted to verb as it's written) to increases (can be read as a noun).


Posted 2016-12-21T08:40:24.793

Reputation: 3 673

Also there is an issue with the preposition in "expanded investment on the transportation and infrastructure system". Investment is "in" something. Spending is "on" something. – EllieK – 2016-12-27T22:09:04.327


Your sentence is technically correct but is very hard to read.

Firstly I would recommend that you don't write sentences of this length (especially in business). The word 'the' is used far too frequently in the English language and is mostly unnecessary. It is very hard to grasp the full concept of it. Therefore it is generally better to go with what you think sounds right.

Original Sentence -

The bases for growth in the real estate industry include sustainable economic growth, rapid urbanization due to expanded investment on the transportation and infrastructure system, high demand for property due to growth in per capita income, and increase in foreign investment.

New Sentences -

Bases for growth in the real estate industry include sustainable economic expansion, rapid urbanisation , high demand for property , and increase in foreign investment. Rapid urbanisation is occurring due to the expanded investment on the transportation and infrastructure system, while demand for property because of increase in per capita income.

Also try to decrease the repeated words like investment (i don't know any synonyms)

Good page on the word 'the' -

Harry Tong

Posted 2016-12-21T08:40:24.793

Reputation: 146