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spring vacation vs. the spring vacation

hirashin

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Which would native speakers say?
(a) I'm planning to visit London, Paris and Rome for the spring vacation/holidays.
(b) I'm planning to visit London, Paris and Rome for spring vacation/holidays.
(c) I'm looking forward to the spring vacation/holidays.
(d) I'm looking forward to spring vacation/holidays.

Is "the" optional in those cases?

Hirashin
 

lanthas

 
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"The" should be used since you're talking about a specific holiday period: the upcoming spring holidays (i.e. in this year or next year). So a) and c) are correct while b) and d) sound awkward.
 

hirashin

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Thank you for the help, Lanthas and Wonko.

I had thought the versions without "the" were wrong, but recently I saw a native speaker use "spring vacation" without "the". And Wonko says he would also use "spring vacation".

If so, English teachers should not tell students to put 'the' before 'spring vacation'.

It's often difficult to judge whether to put 'the' or not.

Hirashin
 

WonkoTheSane

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I suspect it's regional. I doubt there's a rule here which is universal to English.

Where I come from 'spring break' or 'spring vacation' fall into a class of set phrases because they're ubiquitous to school. You need 'the' with 'weekend' to differentiate from all the other weekends. "What are you doing for weekend?" doesn't work, you need "what are you doing for the weekend?" Spring break/vacation are more like Golden week. One doesn't need "what are you doing for the Golden week?" it can just be "what are you doing for Golden week?"
 
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