(the) shares in the company

VicNicSor

Senior Member
Russian
A story appearing in Dow Jones Bankruptcy Review managed to hammer shares of industry tech provider Lender Processing Services, Inc. [stock LPS][/stock] on early Friday afternoon, suggesting the Jacksonville, Fla.-based firm was the subject of a formal investigation by the Department of Justice. Shares in the company tanked nearly 30% on the news, falling $9.61 to $23.57, before trading of the company's stock was halted on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares resumed trading late Friday afternoon.
Dow Jones

Back in February, when LinkedIn released its full-year 2015 numbers and 2016 forecast, the news was pretty bleak. Engagement was down, in terms of both active users and page views, and the company also revised their guidance for 2016, saying that their full-year earnings would be significantly lower than expected. Shares in the company tanked, dropping more than 40% and erasing around $10 billion in market cap from the stock. As I said, not a great day for LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Now up to 433 Million Members, Posts Better than Expected Q1 Results

I wonder why "shares" didn't take the definite article here. Aren't these specific shares?
Thanks.
 
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    It's a convention as much as anything, I think. In a sense, these aren't specific shares; instead, these are presumably all the shares in the company. Even when a company has multiple share classes, they are all assumed to move in sympathy.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    It actually isn’t specific shares : the only shares which actually fell by $9.61 were any which were bought at the previous day’s closing price and sold just before the suspension of trading for $23.57. In reality there were probably no such shares - some shares were purchased at the opening price and some different shares were sold at the closing price. What actually tanked was the value of all shares. Shares therefore doesn’t need an article.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    It actually isn’t specific shares : the only shares which actually fell by $9.61 were any which were bought at the previous day’s closing price and sold just before the suspension of trading for $23.57. In reality there were probably no such shares - some shares were purchased at the opening price and some different shares were sold at the closing price. What actually tanked was the value of all shares. Shares therefore doesn’t need an article.
    Yes. Not to delve too deeply into economics or epistemology, the trades that did take place are assumed to inform the value of all shares extant.
     

    VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    What actually tanked was the value of all shares. Shares therefore doesn’t need an article.
    I don't understand the "therefore" part, because this is exactly what I would have expected — the value of all shares = the shares:):confused:

    ---------------
    What is confusing me here, is that while "the shares" is implied, "shares" is used:confused:
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    A story appearing in Dow Jones Bankruptcy Review managed to hammer shares of industry tech provider Lender Processing Services, Inc. [stock LPS][/stock] on early Friday afternoon, suggesting the Jacksonville, Fla.-based firm was the subject of a formal investigation by the Department of Justice. Shares in the company tanked nearly 30% on the news, falling $9.61 to $23.57, before trading of the company's stock was halted on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares resumed trading late Friday afternoon.
    Dow Jones

    Back in February, when LinkedIn released its full-year 2015 numbers and 2016 forecast, the news was pretty bleak. Engagement was down, in terms of both active users and page views, and the company also revised their guidance for 2016, saying that their full-year earnings would be significantly lower than expected. Shares in the company tanked, dropping more than 40% and erasing around $10 billion in market cap from the stock. As I said, not a great day for LinkedIn.
    LinkedIn Now up to 433 Million Members, Posts Better than Expected Q1 Results

    I wonder why "shares" didn't take the definite article here. Aren't these specific shares?
    Thanks.
    The definite article doesn't just "specify;" it also differentiates (i.e., it focuses on one "subset" of a larger "group"). For example, "50 people were in attendance. Half were from the United States; half from Russia. The people from the US wore cowboy hats." Here, the definite article differentiates/marks "the people" as a subset of the larger group "people in attendance." So, if you say "The shares in the company tanked," it begins to sound as if there's "other" shares involved as well form which "the shares" is differentiated. Of course, that's not the intended meaning. Language doesn't want complexity; we don't add a definite article because "Shares in the company" is understood in a universal sense (i.e. "shares" means "all shares" in the company -- as noted in post #2).
     

    VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The definite article doesn't just "specify;" it also differentiates (i.e., it focuses on one "subset" of a larger "group"). For example, "50 people were in attendance. Half were from the United States; half from Russia. The people from the US wore cowboy hats." Here, the definite article differentiates/marks "the people" as a subset of the larger group "people in attendance." So, if you say "The shares in the company tanked," it begins to sound as if there's "other" shares involved as well form which "the shares" is differentiated. Of course, that's not the intended meaning. Language doesn't want complexity; we don't add a definite article because "Shares in the company" is understood in a universal sense (i.e. "shares" means "all shares" in the company -- as noted in post #2).
    Why does it work differently then in examples like this: "The water in Key West is warmer than the water in Hawaii in the month of April."? You would not omit "the" here, would you?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Why does it work differently then in examples like this: "The water in Key West is warmer than the water in Hawaii in the month of April."? You would not omit "the" here, would you?

    The ocean water
    in Key West is warmer than the ocean water in Hawaii. Water in Key West is not warmer than water in Hawaii. Tap water is the same. Refrigerated water is the same. Ice is the same. We say "the (ocean) water" to refer to "the water in the ocean": a specific water, not all water.

    Shares in the company tanked nearly 30% on the news
    This has a few words omitted. More accurately:

    The (open-exchange public trading spot) price of shares of stock in the company tanked nearly 30% on the news. There is no "the shares" being discussed. It is "the price of one share" that changed.

    Of course that is a theoretical "price", as mentioned above. When prices change this drastically, there may be no matching offers at all (an offer to buy at the same price as an offer to sell), so no actual stock trades happen. The price quoted is probably the highest bid (the highest that someone was willing to pay, if someone else was willing to sell that low).
     

    VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The (open-exchange public trading spot) price of shares of stock in the company tanked nearly 30% on the news. There is no "the shares" being discussed. It is "the price of one share" that changed.
    What actually tanked was the value of all shares. Shares therefore doesn’t need an article.
    Let's just word it like this:


    "Shares in the company fell in price by 30% on the news ..."

    Would it still not need the article like in the OP?
     
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