Exxon and (∅, the) other oil majors

4

A quote from The Economist:

Yet Exxon and the other oil supermajors are more vulnerable than they look.

What if we insert a zero article in THE's position before the "other":

Yet Exxon and other oil supermajors are more vulnerable than they look.

Would the meaning change from "Exxon and all (each and every) supermajors besides Exxon" to "Exxon and some other oil supermajors (but not necessarily each of them)"?

CowperKettle

Posted 2013-08-02T12:04:10.257

Reputation: 36 949

5Yes, that is the difference. – JLG – 2013-08-02T12:54:16.390

Answers

2

Per JLG's comment, in OP's specific example, the zero article can be read as meaning some, but not necessarily all. And in fact since the definite article could be included, if it were to be omitted this would very strongly imply some, but not all.

But suppose we remove the reference to Exxon completely, and just consider...

1: Oil supermajors are more vulnerable than they look.
2: The oil supermajors are more vulnerable than they look.

Personally, I see no reason to assume any distinction at all. Either version could continue with further text making it clear that the vulnerability inherently applies to all such companies (because of their very nature, perhaps). Equally, either version could continue with further text explaining how a few such companies have managed to avoid being vulnerable. In short, context is everything (as usual! :)

FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica

Posted 2013-08-02T12:04:10.257

Reputation: 52 587