all (the) passengers

apple posted:

How All Passengers Survived the Miracle on the Hudson.

I’m wondering if “the” should be between All and Passengers.

Or is it acceptable to omit “the” because it’s a news headline.

Hello, Apple,

This is certainly one of the more interesting questions I've seen about article usage, and the context is great. If you haven't already seen it, I can recommend the movie Sully, in which Tom Hanks plays the heroic pilot of that plane.

The title is correct without "the" between "all" and "passengers," and "all passengers" can be correct even outside titles and headlines. For example, both of the following sentences are correct:

(1) Have you ever wondered how it was that all passengers survived?
(2) Have you ever wondered how it was that all the passengers survived?

I do not understand (1) to be a reduced version of (2). Rather, I understand the sentences to have subtly different meanings. In (2), we are thinking of a specific set of passengers.

In (1), no individuals are being thought of; the meaning is more formulaic. "All passengers" means "everyone who was a passenger (aboard that flight)." Interestingly, "all passengers"  is more common on the COCA corpus:

"all passengers": 175
"all the passengers": 73

Thank you, David, for your reply, but I still don't understand.

I used to think "the" means something specific, therefore, the passengers on that flight were a speficif group of people, not just any passengers.

Is it then, acceptable to say "All students in our school passed the final " or "All visitors to this world heritage site must follow this rule" without using "the"?

I will watch Sully.

This incident on the Hudson river has been featured in many TV programs.

Apple

 

 

 

 

apple posted:

I used to think "the" means something specific, therefore, the passengers on that flight were a speficif group of people, not just any passengers.

Hi, Apple,

Yes, "the" is used to refer to specific people and things. If the title had been "How All the Passengers Survived the Miracle on the Hudson," then it would have referred to a specific set of passengers, namely, those passengers aboard that flight. The version with "the" is a shortened version of a partitive construction with "of": "How All of the Passengers Survived," in which "the passengers" can be replaced by "them." The "of"-conversion doesn't work in the version without "the."

How All of the Passengers Survived the Miracle on the Hudson
*How All of Passengers Survived the Miracle on the Hudson

How All of Them Survived the Miracle on the Hudson
*How All Them Survived the Miracle on the Hudson

While it is true that the noun phrase without "the" ("all passengers") ultimately refers to the same group of people, it does so in a different way. It doesn't have the individuals in mind. Rather, it has in mind what constitutes membership in that group: the quality of being a passenger aboard that flight.

Let's approach this from a couple of different angles.

First, consider that the title "How All the Passengers Survived the Miracle on the Hudson" could indicate that the program will feature survival tales from each of the individual passengers aboard that flight: this passengers survived this way, and that passenger survived that way, and so on. But that is not the meaning desired. The meaning desired is that the program features an explanation of the fact that all (the) passengers aboard that flight survived, and "the" is superfluous there. It isn't a mistake to use "the" there, but it isn't needed.

Second, most people who have heard about "The Miracle on the Hudson" don't know any of the passengers, or at least didn't know any of them before the many articles and broadcasts that occurred in the wake of the event. If we rewind the clock, and go back to the day of the event, we will see that a natural question to have asked at that time was "Did any passengers die?" It would have been natural to inquire whether anyone who was a passenger aboard that flight -- we don't know who any of them were -- died.

I assume that you recognize the sentence "Did any passengers die?" as grammatical. I don't think you're inclined to say that it must be written "Did any of the passengers die?" instead, though that sentence is also grammatical. (Similarly, I think you are OK with "Were both people there?" in addition to "Were both (of) the people there?") Notice that, with "any," if we use "the," we have to add "of." It would be ungrammatical to say, *"Did any the passengers die?" But it is perfectly fine to ask, "Did any passengers die?," instead of "Did any of the passengers die?," especially in a case like this one, where we have no idea who any of the individuals were. All we care about is whether all passengers aboard that flight survived.

apple posted:
Is it then, acceptable to say "All students in our school passed the final " or "All visitors to this world heritage site must follow this rule" without using "the"?

Yes, both of those sentences are correct. And they would also be correct if they used "all the students" and "all the visitors," or "all of the students" and "all of the visitors," instead. It's simply a matter of how you want to talk about them. If studenthood at your school is all that matters to you as a speaker, just say "all students at our school," which refers to anyone who is a student at your school (it doesn't matter if you know the identity of any of them). But if you want your sentence to suggest that you are thinking of specific individuals who are students at your school, go ahead and use "all the students" or "all of the students." If you are having trouble deciding, then don't worry about it. Both options work.

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