Before <the> dawn

doctor robert

New Member
which one is correct

"he left before dawn" or "he left before the dawn" ?

The full sentence is :
"He left before '(the)dawn' ,but he left a letter to explain."

or maybe both senteces are correct,I dont know.
can somebody help me?
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Before dawn, after sunrise, at twilight, at sunset, break of dawn, etc.

    No definite article anywhere. I see them as certain periods of the day and they cannot be too specific (i.e. no definite article) because they are the same every day. Whatever the logic, this is how it's said. :)

    He left before the dawn, on the other hand, seems to say the dawn also left, after him :)


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I would probably use the article with "break of..."

    He left before the break of day/ He left before daybreak/He left before dawn.

    I wouldn't be too upset if I heard/read "He left before the dawn" ("the dawn" on that particular day, perhaps?).

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