Hi there, Should I use the in the following sentence or not? Are they both grammatical? If yes, what difference does it create?


Here's the example:

  • These are (the) people who were present there when the accident happened.

To me it seems that If I don't use the it means there were other people who were present at the time of the accident besides them. They are not the only ones who were present there. I am not sure. Please explain.

I have found many examples on the internet where in contexts like this I have seen sometimes the is used sometimes not.

Original Post

Subha,

You wrote:

To me it seems that If I don't use the it means there were other people who were present at the time of the accident besides them. They are not the only ones who were present there.

I agree with your assessment.

1: These are the people who were present there when the accident happened.

strongly implies

1': These are all of the people who were present there when the accident happened.

but

2: These are people who were present there when the accident happened.

strongly implies

2': These are some of the people who were present there when the accident happened.

By "strongly implies", I am admitting that it may be possible to interpret these sentences differently.  But in my experience, these are the most likely and reasonable interpretations.

DocV

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