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I know that we do not use articles for generally speaking about a noun, but is there any other exception or rule?

Why after "mit", we do not have an article for the word "Unterstützung".

Im Rahmen der „Regionale 2004 links und rechts der Ems“ hat der Kreis Steinfurt das denkmalgeschützte Zisterzienserinnenkloster Gravenhorst (bei Hörstel im nördlichen Münsterland) mit Unterstützung des Landes NRW zum Kunsthaus umgebaut.

Is it alright to say:

mit der Unterstützung des Landes NRW zum Kunsthaus umgebaut

Thank you so much

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  • I changed the title to 'prepositions' since I take it that's what you meant.
    – RDBury
    Dec 14, 2021 at 2:08

2 Answers 2

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In general, the answer is complicated, though it is similar, but not identical with English.

First, grammarians (at least the ones at Wiktionary) use 'determiner' for a class of words that includes articles (definite and indefinite) and words that can replace articles. For example Auto requires a determiner which can either be an article — das Auto, a possessive determiner (also called a possessive adjective) — unser Auto, an indefinite determiner, irgendein Auto, an interrogative determiner — welches Auto, a demonstrative determiner — dieses Auto, or a determiner in one or two additional categories that I can't think of at the moment, or perhaps an oddball that is difficult to classify. Adjectives, which can also come before nouns, do not replace an article, so das rote Auto, and so adjectives form a different word type. So the question should really be: Which nouns require a determiner and if so when?

Determiners that are not articles can always be added before a noun that does not need one. You can even add articles in front of a noun that does not need one, but it changes the meaning. For example

Ich mag Käse. — "I like cheese (in general)."
Ich mag den Käse. — "I like the cheese (at this restaurant)."

German nouns can be classified according to whether they require a determiner or not. Some do, some don't, and for some (as in your example Unterstützung) a determiner is optional. English and German usually agree on this, for example plurals and nouns for substances (for example Holz — "wood", Wasser — "water", Käse — "cheese") do not require a determiner. English and German don't agree on abstractions, in English they usually don't require a determiner but in German they usually do. For example die Liebe — "love", der Tod — "death". Names usually do not use articles in German (at least the standard variety; articles are used in the south), but when preceded by an adjective they do require an article. I won't attempt to enumerate every rule and exception here; many apply to specific situations which don't occur very often.

The issue of whether there is a preposition involved usually makes no difference. There, however, an exception to this in that a determiner is not needed with ohne, particularly when there are no adjectives or other modifiers attached. For example:

Er kann ohne Flugzeug fliegen. — "He can fly without a plane."

The sentence "He can fly without plane," would be ungrammatical in English.

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  • I appreciate your answer. It is very helpful. Thank you so much for the time you spend answering my question. Dec 14, 2021 at 9:10
  • Very nice answer. I'm not sure I follow your argument with 'Liebe' and 'Tod', though. "Liebe geht durch den Magen". "Jeder Mensch braucht Liebe" etc... and similar for 'Tod'. So I don't see that those words require an article. Just the meaning is different in the same sense as you point out above. Dec 14, 2021 at 10:30
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    @planetmaker: Thanks, so apparently it should be "sometimes requires"; I need to do more research on that. I was thinking of the Connie Francis song Die Liebe Ist Ein Seltsames Spiel; "The love is a strange game" is ungrammatical in English. Then there's the Brahms Lied that starts Der Tod das ist die kühle Nacht,/Das Leben ist der schwüle Tag. It's not hard to find examples where an article is used in German but not allowed in English, but it seems the issue is more complicated than I thought.
    – RDBury
    Dec 15, 2021 at 3:10
  • Maybe if one distinguishes Liebe (Tod, Leben,...) as an abstract concept (without article, e. g. Liebe übersieht Fehler mit einem Lächeln) vs something more concrete (with article, e. g. die Liebe einer Person) . The distinction is not easy though Dec 15, 2021 at 8:49
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Both are OK. It is identical to English with about the same difference in meaning (nearly none):

With support of..

With the support of...

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  • I sincerely appreciate your answer. What makes the word "Unterstützung" different from other nouns which can be used with or without an article in this situation and do we have other words like this one. Thank you so much Dec 13, 2021 at 21:33
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    You can do that with nearly every noun. Definitive vs. Indefinitive article. Dec 13, 2021 at 22:39
  • Thank you so much for your answer Dec 14, 2021 at 9:10
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    @ParsaAlimohammadi: Thanks is done using upvote (clicking the upward triangle above the big number on the left) here :).
    – guidot
    Dec 15, 2021 at 13:07

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