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articles for sentence subjects in Greek

English often doesn't use any articles for abstract and plural nouns, particularly as sentence subjects:

  • Responsibility for success lies with the student.
  • Politics is the art of the possible.
  • Investor behavior is an important research area.
  • Gerrymandering leads to unfortunate electoral outcomes.
  • Giraffes live in Niger as well as in East Africa.

I would love a brief summary of any general rules if discernable. (I'm, perhaps embarrassingly, most uncertain if the last sentence would require or permit any articles in Greek.)

I think I've figured out that Greek usually uses definite articles in at least some of these situations. And the suggested English translations of full sentences beginning with such subjects usually duly lack an article.

However, when similar phrases appear in isolation, the course seems to enforce inclusion of the article.

  • Οι εθνικές εκλογές.
  • Οι μελλοντικές επενδύσεις.

I can well imagine "National elections are next Sunday" or "Future investments will target wind energy" (and "The" would sound bad in front of the later).

Was this a conscious decision, or is it an omission that should be reported, given that lacking any context a translation without an article could well be preferable if not mandatory?

February 20, 2017

1 Comment


I see this post is 2 years old and no replies yet. I hope someone replies. I have read things about the articles including the notes on Duolingo but I just don’t get it and I am constantly getting things wrong because I leave out a needed article or put in an article that is not supposed to be there. I am so confused.

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