(the) couples are presented with a bottle of wine

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
on
as soon as someone has done something or as soon as something has happened:
Couples are presented with a bottle of wine on their arrival at the hotel.
Longman dictionary

It's definitely talking about particular couples. Why is zero article used?
Thanks.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Probably because the sentence talks about a general policy. "Couples" here means something like "all couples".
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    on
    Why is a zero article used?
    It can be read as All couples are presented ... (owlman beat me to it!)
    If it referred to particular couples, I would expect The couples (we have described) are presented...

    There is no context in the sentence you quote and it seems pointless to speculate about the absence of an article.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Do I correctly understand that the idea is that "couples" are contrasted with e.g. single persons, or groups of people? That is, only couples get wine. (as I understand it's talking about check in).

    >>a zero article

    I just thought - why not use "zero" as a numerical determiner, like Quirk sometimes does in his book:)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "Couples are presented with a bottle of wine on their arrival at the hotel." is a general offer - there is no specific couple. If a (any) couple arrives they get a bottle of wine. If you arrive on your own, or in a group of three or more, you get nothing.

    This is a construction that is used with rules, advertising offers, customs, and other items of general application, etc:

    "In our village, on Christmas Day a young boy would be tied to a tree and beaten. It was an ancient custom."

    "In our village, on Christmas Day, young boys would be tied to a tree and beaten. It was an ancient custom."

    "Cars are not allow to park here."
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    >>a zero article

    I just thought - why not use "zero" as a numerical determiner, like Quirk sometimes does in his book:)
    He generally uses the zero article.
    I haven't come across this use of "zero article" without a/the.
    It may well be a usage in linguistics, but I have zero tolerance for it. :)
     
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