"construction" vs. "the construction"


Dear all,

I have noticed that on the Internet many people write

Construction was completed in 1920

That is, there is no article before construction.
Is this acceptable? Shouldn't we use the definite article before construction, at least if we speak about the construction of a particular building?

Thanks in advance,
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    A good point: your logic is right. But we do say 'construction' without an article; it's quite correct even in formal writing. I wonder why? Perhaps it's because there's no definite act of construction; rather, construction is a gradual, ongoing process. I'm thinking of some other gradual and non-gradual processes like this:

    Settlement of Australia began in 1788.
    The wartime occupation of France began in 1940.

    Military occupation is abrupt, therefore 'the'; colonial settlement is gradual, so it is not a definite single event (though its beginning is, of course). We'd have to think of other gradual processes and see whether we can leave out 'the' with them.

    However, you can use 'the' and say 'the construction' and 'the settlement'.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, I puzzled about this, and etb might have hit the nail on the head. You can use nouns like modernisation or liberalisation with or without the as well, and these would be gradual process in contrast to conquest or takeover.


    Senior Member
    To add a few more construction-related terms to the non-article list: renovation, restoration, demolition, and refurbishment/refurbishing. These are all processes that take time.
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