(the) local law enforcement

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Mulder and Scully are in Sioux City, Iowa, investigating a case. Talking to the sheriff, Mulder has some disagreement with him. When they leave the office, Scully tells him:
— I just think it's a good idea not to antagonize local law enforcement.
The X-Files, TV series

She talks about local law enforcement in general, if she referred to Sioux City law enforcement, she'd use THE: not to antagonize the local law enforcement, right?
Thank you.
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    Yes, she means local law engorm=cement in general, but in this context it's clear she means the specific local law enforcement in particular.


    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    In this case "local law enforcement" can only be used as an abstract noun. If you wanted to be specific you would need to say "the local law enforcement agency". But as Chez has said, we frequently refer to a general class when we are implicitly referring to something specific. In this case Scully is using a general term to refer to not just a specific agency but a specific person, and it will be understood as such by Mulder.
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