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I'd be happy if I could get an overall answer to this question, but if someone is also capable of breaking this down by

single vs. plural nouns
nouns as subject vs. nouns as direct objects
nouns as subject vs. nouns as indirect objects

I'm not all that concerned about the corpora that would be used for this, but preferably it would be fairly representative of average, modern-day English.

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    You're just looking for numbers, then? Shorn of context, they would be very unreliable. Especially since it's hard to tell subjects and objects apart automatically; what about alternations and transformations and non-nominal subjects and objects? – jlawler Apr 2 at 18:20
  • @jlawler I appreciate your commitment to concerns about providing a quality answer, but I really was just looking for generalities. The need to consider all that you've mentioned in your comment isn't something I am seeking at the moment, but down the road there may be, and I hope to remember some of the concerns you presented in your comment. Thank you! – LISA Apr 10 at 4:25
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The Leipzig Wortschatz Portal is a good place to get answers for this kind of questions. The definite article is more than twice as frequent as the indefinite one (158M vs 67M + 10M).

Unfortunately, no further breakdown is in there, they just count wordforms, but on very large corpora.

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  • Exactly the type of answer I was looking for. Thank you! – LISA Apr 10 at 4:20

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