a lot to do with <the> grace and gifts that were naturally given

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RajuMV

Senior Member
Malayalam
Friends, here is a sentence from the book A Turn in the South by V S Naipaul:
I thought I was something special in the world-I think it had a lot to do with grace and gifts that were naturally given, God-given, to me.
Why article 'the' is not necessary before grace and gifts in the sentence, though grace and gifts are definite as they were the ones naturally given.
Please explain.
Thanks a lot in anticipation:)
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    "The" here is optional. Although it's perfectly okay to use "the", because the reference is specific, there is no obligation to do so.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Does it mean in every case where a reference is specific, 'the' is optional?
    Oh, no! Never jump to such dangerous conclusions on the basis of just one example. "The" is usually necessary where there is a specific reference, but there are some exceptions, and the sentence in question seems to be one of them.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think "grace" here is the grace received from God, so in that sentence "the grace" would be wrong.

    ...it had a lot to do with grace - I think it refers to an abstract concept, like "virtue" or "goodness". As used here, it isn't specific. With "gifts", I think the article is optional. I suspect that "that were naturally given to me" refers only to "gifts" and not to "grace" as well.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Does it mean in every case where a reference is specific, 'the' is optional?
    As @Englishmypassion says, no. It really depends what you're talking about. when you are talking about things in a fairly general way, the fact that you can make a general reference specific does not mean that you must do so. But if the context means that the things are very concrete and specific, then "the" becomes compulsory.

    I like (the) apples from the big tree in my orchard
    I picked up (the) apples which had fallen from the big tree
    I picked up the apples which were on the table

    Here "the" is optional in the first two sentences but compulsory in the third.
     
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