Several questions have come up about the definite article vs the null or zero article. I haven't been keeping track of them, but here are some examples from ELU's repository:
- Scientific "control" as uncountable noun
- "All crocodiles in the Universe are green" or "All the crocodiles in the Universe are green"?
- A hero becomes (a) legend
There was some discussion about bringing over to EL&U an answer I wrote on English Language Learners that referenced Peter Master's zero--some--a--the--null progression:
I argued at the time that it wouldn't be appropriate to migrate the question to EL&U since the question is on-topic at ELL. However, as similar questions keep popping up on EL&U, I'm now wondering whether it would be useful to copy (cross-post) the answer to EL&U. I'm no linguist, but I have found the Peter Masters progression to be well-argued and persuasive.
What do you think?