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General Writing and Grammar Help/usage of the expression "pass the time"

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Question
Dear Ted,
According to the Macmillan online dictionary, the meaning of the expression "pass the time" is the following: to prevent yourself from becoming bored by doing something, often something you are not really interested in. They give an example of how to use the expression, which is the following:
"We played cards to pass the time."
My question is can you just say "pass time", I mean can you leave out the word "the"? In other words, are the following sentences grammatically correct and do they make sense?
1. We played cards to pass time.
2. Reading is my favorite way to pass time.

Answer
Dear Glen:

Question:
Dear Ted,
According to the Macmillan online dictionary, the meaning of the expression
"pass the time" is the following: to prevent yourself from becoming bored by
doing something, often something you are not really interested in. They give an
example of how to use the expression, which is the following:
"We played cards to pass the time."
My question is can you just say "pass time", I mean can you leave out the word
"the"? In other words, are the following sentences grammatically correct and do
they make sense?
1. We played cards to pass time.
2. Reading is my favorite way to pass time.

*** Yes, you are correct.  Sometimes "the" is included; at other times it is not.  The choice is the user's.  

In the 15th century, people began to combine the words to make a new noun -- PASTIME.  
That word is defined as "an amusement."  It is something that is done for enjoyment, while the time is passing.

Baseball used to be America's favorite PASTIME.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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