consumers or the consumers

< Previous | Next >

Sumsang

New Member
German - Germany
Hello,
when using the noun "consumers" in a general sense, I would prefer to use it without the definite article. My question is if it is possible to use it with the definite article as well and if it makes any difference.

Consumers should buy more fair trade products.
Or:
The consumers should buy more fair trade products.

Consumers have a great power when it comes to working conditions in developing countries.
Or:
The consumers have a great power when it comes to working conditions in developing countries.

Thank you very much! Sumsang
 
  • MilkyBarKid

    Senior Member
    British English
    Can you specify/be specific about the actual consumers you refer to? And the consumers right NOW, versus in the future?
    The sentence does not refer to a specific, definite group: it refers to those who do, and might buy these products in the future. Nameless people, not associated with any grouping of people.
    Hence, no definite article.
    To use the definite article, we would have to specify the group:
    "These drugs are passed directly onto the consumers of their dairy produce or meat., which must be a contributing factor to meat-related diseases like ...
    :)
     
    Last edited:

    Sumsang

    New Member
    German - Germany
    Sorry, MilkyBarKid, I' m not really sure what you mean.
    My question is: are both versions (no article or definite article) correct when you talk about consumers in general. The context is globalization and consumer power. The example sentences are from student answers to this essay topic: "Consumers are not responsible for working conditions in developing countries. There is no such thing as consumer power. Do you agree?
     

    MilkyBarKid

    Senior Member
    British English
    No. That's why it's called a definite article.

    "Consumers are not responsible for working conditions in developing countries."

    That is general.

    "These drugs are passed directly onto the consumers of their dairy produce or meat., which must be a contributing factor to meat-related diseases like ...


    We are all consumers, of many kinds. The sentence refers to a specific group of consumers: those who eat dairy produce and/or meat.

    To go back to your sentence:
    "Consumers are not responsible for working conditions in developing countries."

    Is this referring to meat eaters, or vegetarians? Is this referring to tea drinkers who don't subscribe to Fair Trade Practices? No - it is unspecified...and we are all consumers of products from around the world.
     

    Sumsang

    New Member
    German - Germany
    Thanks again, MilkyBarKid. For some reason I only saw the first part of your original reply, without the example sentence. Your examples are very clear and you have helped me a lot.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top