stood on the shore taking in (the) salty sea air

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
She stood on the shore taking in the salty sea air.
M-W

"The" here means particular air at that place. But zero-article would work here as well. It would be describing/introducing air. Right?
Thank you.
 
  • JustKate

    Senior Member
    I don't think so. It's possible to leave off that the, but it certainly sounds better with the to me. The way I'd interpret this is that the is being used to differentiate "salty sea air" from other kinds of air.
     

    Jason_2_toi

    Senior Member
    English-Scotland
    She stood on the shore taking in salty sea air.

    Sounds almost as if she went there for that purpose.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thank you, everyone.
    the is being used to differentiate "salty sea air" from other kinds of air
    I thought it differentiates 'salty sea air' at that place from 'salty sea air' at any other place. I mean, the presence of modifiers such as 'salty sea' already differentiates if from other kinds of air, like, e.g., "dry crisp air"... Am I wrong?:confused:
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It really doesn't work without the article; it would sound as if there were several different kinds of air to choose from, which isn't true if one's standing on the shore of the sea.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    as if there were several different kinds of air to choose from
    :D I see.

    But what do you think "the" indicates here? If I understand correctly, Kate says that modifiers matter much here.
    But, if we omitted them, we'd need the article for the same reason, wouldn't we?: She stood on the shore taking in the air.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "The" is customarily used when referring to the immediate atmosphere. If I go into the park after a rain, I might observe that "the air smells nice" (it's the smell of grass after a rain). I mean the air where I'm walking. I wouldn't say "air smells nice"; that would mean air in general, and some doesn't smell nice at all.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thank you.

    How about this:
    There was a man sitting on a bench near a pine in a park, enjoying fresh morning air.
    Does fresh morning air without the article work here? I'm introducing things: the man, bench, pine, park, and in the same way -- air...
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I would use the here, too.

    It's not wrong without the - neither is salty sea air. It's just not the way we normally say it. No doubt there are certain specific contexts in which we'd ordinarily leave off the when referring to a particular "kind" of air, but I can't think of a single one.
     
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